Residents from around Seattle brought their concerns to the Coffee with the Sallys event on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Uptown Espresso in Magnolia (3223 W. McGraw St.). City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Sally Clark host the community events a few times each year.
Among the diverse concerns were Smith Cove Park, the proposed park’s districts, NW Center Kids’ lease termination, crime in Mount Baker and dangerous crosswalks in Madison Park.
Approximately 10 parents and staff from NW Center Kids attended the meeting, some bringing their children along; the parents were there to ask Bagshaw and Clark for their help and support. NW Center Kids was recently informed it will lose its 28-year lease with Seattle Public Schools in June. The school provides child care for children with and without disabilities, making it a unique facility in the city.
“It’s going to kill the program,” one father said.
Parents complained that the school board and Superintendent José Banda were impossible to get a hold of to explain their situation. Bagshaw admitted she, too, can’t get Banda to return her phone calls or emails.
Many parents are not there by choice; it’s because they have nowhere else to go, like one father whose daughter has ADHD and Down’s syndrome. She’s on the waiting list for NW Center Kids because other places cannot accommodate her needs, he said.
“The school district screwed this up,” he said. “It’s stunning. It’s going to shut this program down.”
Bagshaw committed to visit the school and reach out to others, like City Council president Tim Burgess, a champion for universal preschool in Seattle.
Alex Johnston of Magnolia spoke about the importance of focusing on Smith Cove Park and how the community feels uneasy about the park district’s proposal.
Bagshaw responded, saying Smith Cove Park is “near and dear” to her heart. She also set up a meeting with Johnston and other community members to talk more in-depth about the parks.
“It’s the easy road to say, ‘Let’s just do the levy,’” she said.
Another woman voiced concerns about the Magnolia Bridge project that she wants to see rebuilt soon.
“If I can be so brass,” Bagshaw said, “the Republicans have dug their heels in. They want no new taxes, but we need new taxes. We need new revenues. This is squarely on our shoulders to get the bridge rebuilt.”
One resident expressed her worry about the district-based election’s effect on neighborhood district councils. Clark admitted she hasn’t been a fan of the district-based elections, which may lead to turf wars.
Another resident asked Clark to consider homeowners rights with solar panels and buildings that may block their access to sun. Clark said that hasn’t come up formally, but it would eventually.
From outside the neighborhood
David Simons of Phinney Ridge spoke with Bagshaw about the buildings that are being constructed in his neighborhood without parking.
Bagshaw said she hears from people all the time that they can’t afford to live in the city and that reducing parking is a way to lower costs.
Simons said when buildings are developed without parking, surrounding neighbors are affected. He asked Bagshaw and the City Council to look at development and base decisions on data — “Don’t just hope it’s going to work,” he said.
A Mount Baker resident asked for more community resources to be devoted to her neighborhood, which has seen a spike in crime recently. She’d like to see the area cleaned up and the code enforced on derelict buildings in the area.
Bob Edmiston, from the Madison Park Community Council, brought maps to show Bagshaw dangerous crosswalks along East Madison Street, including the intersection at McGilvra Boulevard East where a cyclist was hit by a car last August. There are plans to approach 11 dangerous crosswalks in the area as one big project.
Bagshaw recommended Edmiston pursue Bridging the Gap, a Seattle Department of Transportation levy for transportation maintenance and improvement.
Another resident expressed concern about an APodMent development in Eastlake: He wasn’t against density but wanted to see the council address what he saw as a development loophole.
Bagshaw supported his concerns, saying she wants neighborhood involvement and some form of Department of Planning and Development design review for projects like this.
Coffee with the Sallys events occur about four times per year in different neighborhoods throughout the city. For informaiton about upcoming events, visit www.seattle.gov/council/clark/coffeewithsallys_form.htm.
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