About jseattle

Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959. Follow @jseattle on Twitter or be best pals on Facebook.

Shuttered By the Pound deli speakeasy evicted over thousands in unpaid rent

There’s a bigger mess than the construction reportedly underway at the shuttered By the Pound deli and bar.

A King County Sheriff’s eviction notice has gone up on the venue’s locked E Olive Way door. Court records show the companies behind the project owe more than $75,000 in unpaid rent — plus daily rent of $317.24 for every day after Halloween they didn’t vacate the premise, and more than $1,600 in attorney’s fees and hundreds more in costs. Continue reading

With Dirty Thai cocktails and punchline plans, Bites of Bangkok now open on 15th Ave E

Pranesh Sharma is now pouring on 15th Ave E. The laughs are coming soon.

With plans for a familiar recipe combining Thai food and comedy, Bites of Bangkok is now open on 15th Ave E.

What? You’re not familiar with the traditional Capitol Hill pairing of live comedy performance and the cuisine of Bangkok? Let Capitol Hill residents Jansri Parichat and Pranesh Sharma delight you. Continue reading

After ‘positive’ talks, New Seasons and community groups opposing new store set for Central District agreement — UPDATE: ‘Disappointed’

UPDATE 11/19/18 12:30 PM: Despite hopes of an agreement from representatives on both sides Friday, Monday, activists and community groups who have been engaged with New Seasons said they are “disappointed” that officials “gave no indication the company is committed to change.”

“We can’t wait around while New Seasons’ corporate leadership thinks a little more about respecting our community’s values, and we’re not going to stop calling on them to respect workers’ rights,” the group writes in a statement sent by the Good Jobs Coalition.

“We’re not going away,” the group writes, “and we call on other community members to join us…”

The full statement has been added at the end of this post.

The grand opening of New Seasons in Ballard included this group of protesters

Original report: Unlike what happened at its May opening in Ballard, you probably won’t see protesters greet New Seasons when it opens at 23rd and Union in 2019.

A company spokesperson said it plans to meet Friday’s deadline for a response after positive talks with community groups aligned to push back on the Portland-based grocery chain’s labor practices and its ownership’s anti-LGBTQ politics as it readies to open in the Central District.

Friday’s deadline is part of a community coalition’s demands for the chain:

During their meeting, organizers gave New Seasons co-president Kristi McFarland and other local reps a list of demands. If the demands are met, they said, their campaign against the company would stop. Among other things, they asked New Seasons to sign a neutrality agreement to let interested workers unionize, disclose workforce demographics, let low-income customers use Fresh Bucks to buy produce, stock affordable staple foods, and donate some of their local profits to affordable housing projects and community land trusts.

Nicole Keenan, executive director of Puget Sound Sage, an advocacy group dedicated to low-income people, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, has been part of talks with New Seasons and also categorized the negotiations as positive in a conversation with CHS Friday afternoon. Keenan joined reps from groups like the Squire Park Community Council in the discussions with New Seasons.

While we don’t yet know the specifics of the New Seasons response, the community campaign against the store which has included a “newseasonstories.com” website and neighborhood yard signs, appears to be approaching a fruitful conclusion.

UPDATE 3:40 PM: A New Seasons representative sent over the company’s response to the community groups. We’ve added the full letter at the end of this post. A company representative also provided the following statement:

At New Seasons, we are proud of our established track record as an active civic partner that is committed to directly engaging in building community in a way that reflects our shared progressive values. We’ve been working with a Central District Advisory Council made up of business leaders, local nonprofit representatives and neighborhood council members to understand the needs of the neighborhood, but when we were contacted by this group we wanted to hear their perspective as well. At the meeting, we shared our commitment to championing higher wages, comprehensive benefits for all kinds of families, an inclusive culture, as well as using our voice to stand up for affordable housing, hunger relief and other important social justice and workplace issues that affect everyone. We also took away some valuable ideas from our conversation that we will be exploring further.

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FBI confirms what Seattle already knows: More hate crime reported in the city

The overflow crowd at Temple De Hirsch Sinai during Seattle’s vigil for the Tree of Life shooting victims

The FBI confirms what Seattle already knows — citizens here are reporting more and more hate crimes.

The federal agency this week released its 2017 “uniform crime reporting” statistics for reported bias crimes across the nation showing a 17% jump over 2016’s totals. But the FBI’s data for Seattle shows a much larger issue — hate crime reports nearly doubled in the city in 2017 with reports of religious bias up a whopping 275%:

“The FBI’s Seattle Field Office serves a diverse community. In the wake of the tragic events in Pittsburgh that impacted the nation, we want to assure Washingtonians that their safety and civil rights are a top priority,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael F. Paul of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office said in a statement on the report’s release. Continue reading

New leader on First Hill sees neighborhood’s opportunities as it readies for population boom

Anne McCullough is the new director at the First Hill Improvement Association

After moving from St. Louis, Anne McCullough’s walks in her new, surprisingly leafy neighborhood are filled with reminders of what First Hill can be.

“There’s a lot of opportunities and I can’t help but think about the work that I do when I walk through the neighborhood,” McCullough tells CHS.

The new executive director of the First Hill Improvement Association is also focused on what First Hill is today.

First Hill has about one-third the residential population of Capitol Hill but its density is off the charts — only Belltown has squeezed more residents into a smaller space in Seattle. Continue reading

Police say Ruckus hit in $5K armed hold-up, Capitol Hill’s first big pot shop cash robbery

Seattle Police are searching for an armed robbery suspect who chose an interesting pair of gloves for his lucrative gunpoint hold-up of a Capitol Hill pot shop.

The October 29th incident at 15th and Republican’s Ruckus marijuana shop went unreported by media and SPD but a recently released incident report includes details of the heist. Continue reading

Tiny Broadway taco shop and its Guaymas family of restaurants comes up big as state drops $5.6M tax case

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and investigators from the Washington State Department of Revenue who started their search at a Broadway restaurant have huevos rancheros on their face after allegations of a $5.6 million tax fraud scheme at the Seattle chain of Tacos Guaymas fizzled into a poquito $750 fine.

“It is really a great example of the philosophical Occam’s razor,” Robert Chicoine, lawyer for Tacos Guaymas owner Salvador Sahagun said in a statement to CHS. “If there are two explanations for an occurrence, the one that requires the least speculation is usually the correct explanation.”

Ferguson’s office charged Sahagun earlier this year with six counts of first-degree theft and three counts of possessing and using sales suppression software in what the AG said was a multi-year scheme to pocket more than $5.6 million in sales tax from cash transactions. Continue reading

Support for wages, concerns over reforms as Seattle City Council set for police contract vote — UPDATE: Approved

UPDATE 4:45 PM: In an 8-1 vote, the Seattle City Council approved ratification Tuesday afternoon.

Committee chair Lorena González said that there is still much to be done to continue reforms at SPD but that she was “proud” to approve the collective bargaining agreement.

She also dismissed criticism that the contract would “roll back” reforms, listing a dozen elements from the new deal that she say represent progress in social justice issues at the department.

Paramount in the deal will be a strong Office of Inspector General and wiping out of the controversial Disciplinary Review Board. González said the inspector’s office will be able to be present at Office of Professional Accountability proceedings and will have access to all OPA files.

“Today, is one of those days where I find myself in the unfortunate position of agreeing with some of the observations made by my friends at the (Community Police Commission) while disagreeing as to others and, fundamentally, disagreeing as to (1) the impact of this contract on our ongoing police reform efforts and (2) the appropriate next step to take to continue making progress on police reform,” González said in a statement issued following the vote. You can read the full statement and the list of 12 accountability reforms from the contract here.

U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the Department of Justice consent decree process, will also review the contract to ensure compliance.

The vote followed a more than two hour session of public comment and statements from several council members. Community members including Nikkita Oliver and the Rev. Harriet Waldman spoke to say they supported higher wages for police but could not support the contract. “Voting for this contract will dismantle the work we have been doing for years,” Oliver said. The city has “failed in these negotiations,” Walden said.

A large contingent of community members representing the International District was also on hand to show support for SPD and the new contract.

Original report:  The Seattle City Council will vote Tuesday afternoon on a long-awaited, hugely debated six-year deal with the Seattle Police union that would bring much needed wage increases but would also roll back progress on much needed reforms, critics say.

District 3’s Kshama Sawant representing Capitol Hill, the Central District, and surrounding neighborhoods said Tuesday she will continue to oppose the deal. Seven of the nine council members must approve the contract for ratification.

“As a rank-and-file union member myself, I support the wage improvements that are contained in the tentative collective bargaining agreement between the City and [the Seattle Police Officers Guild],” Sawant said in a statement on the pending vote. “I think it is unfortunate that other public service workers, such as educators and EMTs, have not gotten such significant wage increases in this increasingly unaffordable city.”

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Big police response after fight with unruly bar patron at Chop suey — UPDATE

The scene on E Madison courtesy a CHS reader

SPD and emergency vehicles filled E Madison after a fight between security and an unruly patron brought multiple officers rushing to the Chop Suey music club Sunday night.

Police were called around 7:10 PM as a Chop Suey bouncer was struggling with the patron.

As the first police arrived, a second call went out over East Precinct radio for a “help the officer” incident bringing multiple police vehicles rushing to the scene.

UPDATE 11/19/2018: According to the just released SPD report on the incident, the fight involved two men who witnesses said had been drinking and acting strangely at the Diesel bar next door. After being kicked out of Diesel, one of the suspects reportedly urinated on Chop Suey’s door, sparking the confrontation with security.

Continue reading

Police search for suspect after reported 10th/Mercer armed robbery

Police spread out around the north end of Broadway Friday night with a K9 unit in search of a gunman after a reported armed robbery.

Officers were called to 10th and E Mercer around 6:30 PM to the reported street hold-up. They were looking for a suspect described as an Hispanic male, mid 20s, around 5’5″, with a thin build, and wearing a black wool cap, and a hoodie, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. The suspect was last seen fleeing on foot from 10th from Mercer. He was reported to have been armed with a handgun.

Police and a K9 unit searched the area including a construction site and a house near the crime scene reportedly used by squatters.

There were no reported arrests and no reported injuries in the incident.