D3 candidates to square off on police accountability

Last week, how the candidates for District 3’s seat on the Seattle City Council look at policing and accountability was put on stage in front of the police officer union. One candidate participated and said he wanted to “stabilize” the city’s police force and address concerns of reduced ranks and sinking morale. The other boycotted the event, saying she would stand with activists in the fight for accountability.

This week, in a forum hosted by a wide array of Seattle community organizations including Seattle’s Vietnamese Community Leadership Institute, El Centro de la Raza, and the GSBA, both Egan Orion and Kshama Sawant are expected to attend and have their say on legislating policing in the city in a Wednesday night forum: Continue reading

SPD boundary change carves off a few blocks of the International District from East Precinct

To provide better coverage of public safety needs in the International District and the neighborhoods part of the East Precinct including Capitol Hill, SPD is adjusting its boundaries starting Wednesday:

On January 24, 2018, Seattle Police Department is deploying a new beat map that adjusts existing boundaries in the West Precinct and East Precinct. This change will affect beats G1, G3, K2 and K3, and was made following a review of the deployment map at the recommendation of the Chinatown-International District Public Safety Task Force. Their June 2016 report featured nineteen recommendations, including the movement of the Little Saigon area of the CID neighborhood from the East Police Precinct into the West Precinct. This geographical change will provide better tracking of patterns of crime, improve communication and coordination between CID and the City of Seattle, and reunite the historical neighborhood.

“Beat realignments are a common practice for law enforcement agencies throughout the country, allowing police departments to account for city growth, population density changes, and public safety challenges,” the department says. Continue reading

See something? Say something — even if nobody wants to hear about it

Washington and Mackey

With thousands of people set to hit the streets Saturday for the 2018 Seattle Women’s March, an experience at this week’s MLK Day march provides an example for what to do if you see something that doesn’t seem right. See something? Say something — even if the first person you tell doesn’t seem to want to hear about it.

Jacob Washington and his girlfriend Talaya Mackey, students at Seattle Central and president and vice president respectively of the school’s Black Student Union were at the MLK rally event Monday at Westlake Park when Jacob noticed something that wasn’t sitting right.

Washington noticed an uplifted, small, rectangular paving slab as they crossed Westlake Park. Thinking back to his experiences and training from his three years in the army and two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a combat engineer, Washington wanted to play it safe. Thinking it was probably nothing, but knowing the march was set to arrive at Westlake any moment, Washington and Mackey tell CHS they decided to alert police as soon as possible. Continue reading

Public path closed near Lowell Elementary where used needles repeatedly found


Fencing and no trespassing signs were installed on the path Friday morning. (Image: Alex Garland)


A sleeping bag and needles found near the path by members of the Lowell PTA. (Image: Susanna Mak)

Parents of Lowell Elementary students say a wooded public pathway that cuts through the Capitol Hill school grounds has long been used as a place for people to camp and inject drugs.

After months of parents calling on Seattle Public Schools to address the issue, the Seattle Department of Transportation fenced off the short trail on Friday. Crews also cleared trees and shrubs along the path at E Roy between Federal and 11th.

“From our point of view, the right of way must be permanently closed,” said
Suzanna Mak of the Lowell Elementary PTA.

According to Mak, used needles, condoms, and human waste are a common site on the path that winds between the school building and its playground. While the PTA has documented needles found on the site as early as this week, one neighbor tells CHS there has not been an encampment in the area for several years. Seattle Public School students return to school September 7th.

UPDATE: SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah said that after the city received complaints from the school district and PTA, SDOT decided to temporarily close off the path due to the “ongoing public health hazard” posed by discarded needles.

Once the temporary closure is in place, we will assess the situation and explore a number of long-term remedies with the objective of ensuring the safety needs of the elementary school while preserving the mobility needs of the neighborhood. We will work with all essential stakeholders on the longer-term resolution.

Continue reading

Proposed business tax changes would boost Seattle Police

Two proposed ordinances that will increase costs for Seattle businesses to raise funding for growing the Seattle Police Department are scheduled for discussion Wednesday by a Seattle City Council committee. Both ordinances have the objective of increasing revenue for the city to help defray the cost of resources needed for SPD, including 200 more police officers and 911 staffing center needs that a City Hall rep tells CHS have been neglected for some time.

The first ordinance proposes a 3.2% increase in tax rates for most Seattle businesses over a two-year period. City Budget Office director Ben Noble said the proposed tax increase would raise approximately $8 million of more than $20 million total needed to pay for the SPD resources. Continue reading

Study recommends $780K+ investment to improve Cal Anderson Park lighting

Cal Anderson Park

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 12.10.11 PMNight time lighting at Cal Anderson Park has been a bit of a Goldilocks dilemma for Capitol Hill. Too little creates the potential for more crime and the perception the park is unsafe, while too much may actually have a similar effect and has been a nuisance for neighbors in the past.

To help guide the way, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce commissioned a grant-funded study earlier this year to analyze the current lighting situation and recommend improvements. The report from dark | light design released Monday recommends $780,000 to $960,000 worth of lighting improvements to make the park safer by making it more inviting.

CHCC executive director Sierra Hansen said getting more people to cross through the park at night is a top priority. “We want to use lighting to create more movement,” Hansen said.

Among the recommendations is an idea to mount LED lights on the park’s gatehouse to “softly illuminate the architecture of the gatehouse without creating an overwhelming visual element.” The study notes that the high contrast light around the shelter house plaza should be reduced by fully illuminating the plaza’s columns. The study also warns against over-lighting, especially with omnidirectional globes that shield views of the night sky.

Other recommendations include:Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.23.35 AM

  • Increase lighting along 11th Ave
  • Increase lighting on paths while decreasing visual glare
  • Light plants and trees throughout the park
  • Enhance park entrance lighting

Now the CHCC and groups like the Cal Anderson Park Alliance have to come up with the money to fund the plan. Hansen said the CHCC will lead an effort to seek a combination of private and public funding. Beyond lighting, the CHCC is also exploring improvements to the park’s landscaping to create a safer environment.

“There are some real challenging areas,” Hansen said. “Lighting can help, but it’s not going to be the silver bullet.”

Cal Anderson Park Lighting Study

Banks makes headway in D3 chase putting public safety on the table — UPDATE


Banks announced her plan at Powell Barnett Park Thursday morning. (Image: Bryan Cohen)

Pamela Banks has finally struck a campaign blow in an election season that has mostly seen incumbent Kshama Sawant dominating. The candidate will look to build on that success Thursday with a push on public safety at a Central District park playground recently caught in the crossfire of ongoing gun violence.

UPDATE: Banks called for the City to hire ex-gang members to quell gun violence as the main part of her plan to address public safety concerns in the Central Area. The proposal would require hiring at least 12 “violence interrupters” to diffuse deadly confrontations, she said.

The program is modeled off one in Chicago and is a revival of sorts of a Seattle initiative that was disbanded in 2010, Banks said. Banks also called for more resources to be devoted to SPD’s community police teams — an issue Attorney General Loretta Lynch was due to speak about later in the day at a “community policing forum” in the Central District. That would likely involve hiring more officers, Banks said.

During the media conference at Powell Barnett Park, Banks took the opportunity to note Sawant’s relatively quiet stance on the issue of public safety in this year’s election. “My opponent hasn’t lead on this issue and hasn’t even made a public statement regarding this violent crime in this city,” Banks said.

Banks said addressing violent crime is her top issue in the campaign.

A full statement on the Banks “Jobs Stop Bullets” plan has been included at the bottom of this post.

Original report: After her plea for Democratic unity failed to secure a key endorsement from the 43rd District Democrats earlier this month, the D3 challenger found a friendlier response this week from her home legislative district as the 37th voted to throw its support behind Banks.

“It was great to see so many friends and neighbors at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, and to earn the endorsement of the 37th District Democrats,” Banks said in a statement:

I’ve known many of these strong Democrats for years. Some friendships go back to when I helped make sure small businesses kept their doors open during light rail construction back in the 1990’s and others are friends and fellow parents from when I served as Garfield PTSA President.

This is the kind of results-driven, hands-on community activism that I love, and it was humbling and gratifying to see so many people turn out and support my candidacy for City Council. I continue to make housing, education, jobs and public safety my priorities, and making a difference on these issues energizes my campaign.

Banks will look to continue her momentum Thursday with a push on public safety and a morning announcement in Powell Barnett Park, “the scene of a shooting on June 25.” Continue reading