‘Future phases’ — Washington sets plan for COVID-19 vaccine rollout with ‘high risk’-only phases through April — UPDATE: Mass vaccination sites

There is a high likelihood that you — a typical CHS reader — will not receive your first COVID-19 vaccination until May at the earliest, according to new guidance from the Washington State Department of Health.

Most Washingtonians — and most of you — fall into a “future phases” plan to come currently slated to run from May through at least December 2021.

“Vaccine prioritization decisions are complex, but based in a need for equitable distribution,” Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah said in the announcement . “Our priority has been to get the vaccine to high-priority people first.”

The newly announced vaccination plan includes the first details from state officials about how it will administrate the process beyond the highly controlled environments of major health providers and care facilities where the first vaccinations were delivered to workers and residents to end 2020. This first vaccination phase — dubbed “phase 1A” by the state, is currently underway and the state says the next phases won’t begin until later this month. Continue reading

Sound Transit: Light rail to Ballard and West Seattle will cost billions more

(Image: Sound Transit)

Your hopes of taking light rail from Capitol Hill to visit friends in Ballard and West Seattle are going to be even more expensive.

Sound Transit officials have unveiled new cost estimates for the “Sound Transit 3” package of projects including light rail connecting to West Seattle and Ballard that have risen nearly 50% from previous forecasts — a potential $5 billion to $6 billion surge.

Publicola reports:

The estimated cost of extending Seattle’s light rail system to Ballard and West Seattle, as well as several other components of the Sound Transit 3 plan adopted by voters in 2015, has risen dramatically since last year, Sound Transit staffers told the agency’s executive committee Wednesday. The main factors driving the increase, according to the agency, are higher than anticipated property acquisition costs, higher costs for labor and materials, and unanticipated “soft costs,” including additional funding for contingencies.

The the new numbers likely mean new timeframes for the projects. Continue reading

Capitol Hill counter legend Carmelo’s Tacos opening new location on 12th Ave — this time, with tables

Thanks to a CHS reader for the tip!

(Image: Carmelo’s Tacos)

Add one more to our roster of Capitol Hill bars and restaurants to look forward to in 2021. Carmelo’s Tacos is expanding with a second location — and, when we can finally go back inside, this new Carmelo’s will have tables.

The new Carmelo’s is being readied to open at 12th and Cherry across from Seattle U near the Cherry Street Coffee and 12th Ave Square Park. Continue reading

City says removal notice doesn’t mean full sweep of Miller Playfield encampments — UPDATE

Seattle Parks says notices left with homeless campers at Capitol Hill’s Miller Playfield apply to only a portion of the city property and aren’t part of a full sweep of the encampments.

The notices left at encampment sites on the north lawn area require the area to be cleared by January 11th. Continue reading

Seattle Police collecting community feedback on new use of force proposals

(Image: Tom Walsh with permission to CHS)

After months of protests in Seattle and a stream of examples of excessive force used by police, the Seattle Police Department debuted drafts in December that would alter its policies on use of force and crowd management last month, but advocates say they fall short.

Advocates and community groups have spent weeks organizing response to the proposals but there is still time to add your voice. SPD said its deadline for public feedback is Friday.

The specific existing policies, which undergo annual review, that the new drafts revise were originally developed in collaboration with the U.S. Justice Department and were approved by a federal court, noted SPD spokesperson Valerie Carson.

“Since June, SPD has significantly modified its tactical approach to meeting the evolving nature of this unprecedented series of protest events, responsive to both community concerns and internal discussions around lessons learned,” Carson said in an email, emphasizing changes in SPD policy around crowd management — tactics that faced heavy criticism over the summer for unnecessary escalation with protesters.

These changes include “robust emphasis” on tactics that isolate individuals who have broken the law so they can be arrested and reducing the “SPD visible footprint around these events” with the recognition that a heavy police presence can escalate tension.

Seattle Community Police Commission senior policy analyst Nia Franco said, however, there is little change to the crowd dispersal tools available to SPD, which would still be able to use tear gas and blast balls under the departmental policy. The CPC has consistently called for limitations on the use of crowd control weapons, including last year when, along with the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Police Accountability, it called on SPD to stop using tear gas on protesters.

“Their proposed changes completely disregard those recommendations that we’ve made,” Franco said in a Wednesday meeting of the commission. Continue reading

State Supreme Court to decide on Sawant appeal in recall — UPDATE

The State Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision Thursday in Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s appeal of the recall case against her.

UPDATE 1/8/2021 9:00 AM: Any decision in the case has not been publicly announced as of Friday morning.

UPDATE x2: The court now says there is not a timeline for issuing its opinion in the case:

The Sawant Solidarity campaign formed to help the District 3 council representative if the recall moves forward is girding for the court to rule against Sawant’s appeal.

Sawant’s legal team launched the appeal in October following a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that allowed the recall effort against the longest serving member of the council to move forward.

Sawant’s lawyers from Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP — “the Pacific Northwest’s largest union-side labor and employment law firm” — say the superior court erred in determining that the charges brought against Sawant were “legally and factually sufficient to support a recall.” Continue reading

Victim identified as UW student as 18-year-old driver charged in deadly New Year’s Montlake hit and run

Jared West via Gofundme

Prosecutors have filed charges in the New Year’s hit and run that left a 23-year-old dead in the roadway of the Montlake Bridge.

Kyle Dickinson, 18 and a resident of the Broadmoor neighborhood, has been charged with vehicular homicide, hit and run, and driving without a license. Police say Dickinson fled the scene and appeared to be drunk when arrested hours after the collision.

The 23-year-old victim has been identified as University of Washington student Jared West. A fundraiser set up to help his family said West was working on a degree in construction management. “This past year was a very successful one for Jared – he found his calling professionally, was doing very well in school, and even found the motivation to make dramatic health improvements by losing over 60 pounds through diet and exercise,” his family writes. “We are so very proud of Jared’s accomplishments and will miss him greatly.” Continue reading

Insurrection in the Capitol: Seattle area leaders reported safe as Congress vows to resume certification of Biden victory

(Image: CBS News)

Seattle area congressional leaders are reported safe and Washington D.C. is under curfew after a day of chaos and violence from supporters of Donald Trump seeking to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Leaders have vowed to resume the proceedings — possibly as soon as Wednesday night.

“I am safe and sheltering in place,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal reported via Twitter. “I was one of a dozen Representatives in the gallery above the House floor. We pulled out gas masks and had to get down on the ground. Capitol police barricaded the doors and had guns drawn. We were eventually told that we had to quickly exit.”

The King County Democrats confirmed the safety of Jayapal, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Kim Schrier, and Rep Del Bene after a riotous mob stormed the US Capitol and brought proceedings to a halt.

Sen. Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray have also been reported safe. Continue reading

‘I will not open in Seattle again’ — Why Capitol Hill’s The Wandering Goose really closed

Earnhardt at the Goose’s 2012 debut (Image: CHS)

News that Capitol Hill bakery and cafe The Wandering Goose was closing permanently hit hard around the neighborhood and the city.

The 15th Ave E favorite’s biscuits and generous slabs of cake were a comfort and a popular neighborhood stop even through the challenges of COVID-19.

As the state is putting a new phased plan in place for reopening the economy after the latest virus lockdowns, owner Heather Earnhardt tells CHS the city needs to do more to support small businesses like the Goose.

“Our local politicians let us down honestly,” Earnhardt tells CHS. “It was impossible to acquire any funding or grants (not for lack of applying mind you) and the fact that we made it 10 months on our own doing only to-go is something I’m proud of.”

Earnhardt says that she and co-owner Mike McConnell, the founder and former owner of Caffe Vita, along with managing partner Alexandria Ladich did what they could to keep the business open through the various lockdowns and phases put in place to try to slow the spread of the virus. Continue reading

Popular on Capitol Hill — and possible mother of the Pike/Pine ‘superblock,’ Mosqueda says she’ll run to keep seat on City Council — not join race for mayor

(Image: City of Seattle)

After leading Seattle through a sometimes fractious effort to begin the process of redirecting the city’s budget from policing to social and community spending in the midst of a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, citywide City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced Wednesday she will seek to retain her seat at City Hall in November’s election ending speculation of a possible run for mayor.

“As we turn the page on a tumultuous period for our City and nation, we need leaders who can bring people together to solve complex problems,” Mosqueda said in her announcement sent to media Wednesday morning. “My team and I have led on major policy initiatives, and delivered impactful change by creating diverse coalitions. There are many challenges ahead as we leave the COVID-19 era; to restart our economy and get people into housing, a proven track record of delivering will be needed. My team and I are ready to do the work.”

CHS reported on Mosqueda’s election to the council in November 2017, calling the Washington State Labor Council lobbyist a worker rights advocate who had focused on immigrant and refugee rights against workplace discrimination. Continue reading