White Center CDA staff joined residents from the Greenbridge neighborhood and Family Connections staff (Mt. View Elementary and White Center Heights Elementary) to advocate for the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries at the King County Library System’s (KCLS) board of trustees meeting in Issaquah last night.
A large contingent of White Center’s community attended last night’s KCLS board of trustees monthly meeting to advocate against the closing and consolidation of the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries. Among them were residents from the Greenbridge neighborhood to provide their perspectives on how a potential closure will effect them and their families. Lan Le and Anab Abdulle from Family Connections provided interpretation in Vietnamese and Somali, respectively.
The experience for our Greenbridge neighbors was a new one - many of them had not been to Issaquah but were eager to speak in front of the board. They spoke about access, how their families utilize the libraries, and how closing the libraries will have an effect on the Greenbridge library (located inside the YWCA learning center).
The board heard from many other White Center representatives, notably the White Center Library Guild, who have been longtime advocates of the libraries and leading a campaign to “Save Our Libraries”. Over 1,700 signatures were collected by the Guild and community partners, which was presented to the board by Astha Tada of the Guild. King County council member Joe McDermott was also in attendance to reiterate his support of the community.
The KCLS board of trustees decided to defer their decision of library consolidation of the White Center and Boulevard Park libraries until a decision about annexation is made by the City of Burien. We will provide more information about the library situation on this blog (as well as Facebook and Twitter) as it develops.Post a comment
The Seattle City Council’s Regional Development and Sustainability Committee gathered today to discuss annexation, amongst other topics. Above is a photo we took right outside of the Seattle Council chambers after giving individual testimonies regarding annexation. Even though everyone knows that we love White Center, we had to show it too, by wearing our “I Heart White Center” t-shirts in solidarity!
Councilmember Richard Conlin announced a new resolution calling for a decision on annexation by February 2012. The entire City Council will consider this resolution on March 28. You can view today’s committee hearing in full on www.seattlechannel.org.
Pictured, left to right: Peter Chum, Virgil Domaoan, Patty Julio, Sylvia See, Kate Stannard, Mohammed Al-Shimari and Julia Bautista. Photo by Ian Dapiaoen.
UPDATE, 3/21: View the aforementioned resolution here, download the PDF version here, and view/download the North Highline Potential Annexation Area map here. You can view this hearing at the Seattle Channel by clicking here. We also added a screen shot of Mohammed, 15, speaking at the hearing (see above).
UPDATE, 3/29: At the 3/28 full council hearing, City Council voted to move ahead with making a decision about annexation in February 2012 for a possible vote in November 2012. The Council also agreed to not get in the way of any efforts that Burien may want to make in annexing White Center. You can read yesterday’s resolution here. You can also watch archived video from yesterday here.Post a comment
Courtesy of City Council Office:
There will be a Special meeting of the Seattle City Council Regional Development and Sustainability Committee on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. The agenda is attached and copied below.
The agenda is also available online:
Call to Order
1. Chair’s Report
2. Public Comment
3. RES. 31282
4. RES. 31283
5. Industrial Development District Update
6. Duwamish River Corridor Master Agreement (Bluefield) - Public Outreach and Design Response for Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Sites 1, 2, and 3
7. C.B. 117126
AdjournmentPost a comment
Note: The letter below was sent to Seattle City Council this morning.
March 11, 2011
Council President Richard Conlin
Seattle City Council
600- Fourth Avenue Seattle, WA 98104
The Honorable Richard Conlin:
Thank you for your careful consideration of the potential annexation of White Center/North Highline.
On behalf of our community-driven board of directors, staff and 1400+ volunteers, the White Center CDA urges you to place the annexation ballot before the 20,000 residents of White Center/N. Highline this November 2011. We are a historically disenfranchised community and one of the most diverse in the state. We are a mixed urban and residential community that does not receive adequate services since King County is spread thin and increasingly less able to offer local services. Residents to the North in the bigger city of Seattle get those services; residents to the South in the smaller city of Burien do too. Last summer we applauded the city of Burien’s decision to place a vote before portions of N. Highline and were happy to see the annexation approved by voters. But the remaining area of White Center is an “urban island” and it is a troubling. Those pillars of our nation–justice and democracy–call for the Seattle City Council to give White Center the chance to speak for ourselves on the issue of annexation by putting this matter on the ballot.
Furthermore, White Center is an up-and-coming community with tremendous human capital and capacity that is in search of a municipal partner to reach its potential. Our human assets include high capacity resident leaders and strong community organizations like the CDA. A clear example of this capacity and potential is the development of the resident-driven White Center Neighborhood Action Plan. The Plan represents resident’s comprehensive vision for a healthy and prosperous neighborhood. White Center’s capacity is further shown by our ability to implement elements of the Plan, despite the community’s disenfranchised political status. In fact, the CDA has tracked the leveraging of millions of dollars of largely private funding for Plan implementation. We now need a municipal partner to fully achieve our vision of a vibrant commercial district connected to safe, residential communities. Whatever city embraces us will be able to tap that already existing blueprint and the human capital and resident leadership ready to carry it out.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak and for allowing the diverse people of White Center to decide their fate in this important governance decision. We look forward to working with you in the future.
Chair Board of Directors
Post a comment
Why White Center and Seattle need each other
City council majorities have long opposed annexations. Some residents of nearby communities will tell you, sometimes bluntly, they dislike the idea of joining the city. But there are good reasons to hope the diverse neighborhood of White Center joins the city.
By Jordan Royer
It’s hard to find people working for the City of Seattle who have not been involved in the annexation question at one time or another. My first foray came on a summer night in 2000. I had just been hired by the city after working for Sen. Barbara Boxer for six years in San Francisco. We were trying to explain to the community of unincorporated South Park - the so-called sliver by the river - the benefits of joining Seattle.
As we set up our tables and started the meeting at the South Park Community Center, built and paid for by the citizens of Seattle, an older gentleman approached me and looked at my nametag. He squinted and said, “Royer, huh. You any relation to Charley?” I told him, “Yes, he’s my dad.”
Then he told me that when my dad tried to annex the area 20 years ago they told him to go to hell. And then he proceeded to tell me to go to hell.
This illustrates the difficulties ever since as all jurisdictions have struggled to implement the state Growth Management Act and get King County out of the business of providing local government services. My old friend can relax because the sliver by the river will not be annexed anytime soon due to the dilapidated South Park Bridge, which is owned by King County. Seattle will not soon take on that liability. But why is it so hard to annex even when it makes so much sense, as is the case with nearby White Center?
Not only is there deep distrust of Seattle in surrounding communities, there are also funding and infrastructure issues that are not easily resolved. There has been historically a solid majority on the Seattle City Council against annexation. That coupled with beliefs that Seattle will raise the cost of living and bring about gentrification have made annexation incredibly slow and difficult.
And there is another reason: In 2006, the state legislature passed annexation legislation that would allow jurisdictions to retain extra sales tax revenues when annexing smaller jurisdictions. However, there was a catch. The incentive to annex did not apply to jurisdictions of over 400,000 persons. Yes, that’s you, Seattle!
The city lobbied the legislature in 2007 and 2008 in order to be able to annex these smaller areas and help King County’s ailing budget. Finally, in a bout of sanity, the legislature approved a bill that would allow Seattle to recoup costs by diverting a share of the state’s sales tax to the city. Rep. Ross Hunter was the hero as he was able to amend SB 5321 on the House side that would basically fund $5 million per year over a 10-year period so Seattle could provide municipal services to White Center.
Hunter knew that King County cannot continue to provide urban-level local services to unincorporated areas and that North Highline (White Center) logically belonged in Seattle. While White Center and the Seattle neighborhood of South Delridge are split by Southwest Roxbury Street, it is really one neighborhood. Neighbors and commerce do not recognize arbitrary political boundaries. I worked on public safety issues in the area, and we were always challenged by that arbitrary boundary. While Seattle Police Department officers were able to patrol with King County sheriff’s deputies, crucial community building and crime prevention strategies were complicated by the Roxbury divide. We have a chance to change that, improve public safety, and help neighbors work together to strengthen the whole community.
As early as its March 8 meeting, the city council could consider whether to move ahead with the annexation of White Center. Annexation is being viewed as something that might go on the November ballot for a vote by the people of White Center. The council should vote yes, and then visit White Center early and often to talk to people and hear their concerns and aspirations for their community.
White Center is a unique neighborhood with the kind of economic and cultural diversity we value in Seattle. We would be lucky to have them join our city of diverse neighborhoods.
Jordan Royer currently works for the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents marine terminal operators and container vessels that serve the West Coast. He previously worked on public safety issues in the Paul Schell and Greg Nickels mayoral administrations. He was a candidate for Seattle City Council in 2009. Reach him by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Crosscut.comPost a comment
Today, 4 staff members of the White Center CDA attended the Mayoral Candidate Debate between Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan at the Cinerama theater in downtown Seattle. After introductions and answering a couple questions from the moderator, the first question from the audience was about annexation, coming from our staff member Virgil Domaoan.
Watch the video here. Virgil’s question comes in around 26:30.
What are your thoughts about the debate? What are your thoughts about their answers about annexation?
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From the Feet First website:
Neighborhoods on Foot Series
Maps can be picked up in the neighborhood for free from a primary location and many shops, cafes, libraries, and community centers. You can always find them at our office.
You may also view and download some of our maps online.
White Center - Seattle / Burien / Unincorporated King County, WashingtonPost a comment