Friday, July 25, 2008

Aki Kurose, Christian Restoration Center, Wedding Reception Locations?

Aki Kurose -- The troubled Aki Kurose Middle School is getting a new principal. Also, it looks like the Rainier Valley Post will not be getting answers from the Aki Kurose administration while investigations are underway.

Christian Restoration Center -- Is there still a ton of graffiti on the south-facing brick wall, the one overlooking the parking lot? I don't pass by there every day, so I don't always have the most up-to-date information on the situation there.

The developers told me this week that they've dealt with the graffiti on the back of the building three times, and as of Monday, there was none. And they're strategizing on the best way to deal with graffiti on the front of the building. But they haven't mentioned the side of the building, which is where I was seeing the most prominent problems.

Wedding Reception Locations Around Beacon Hill and Georgetown? -- A reader is looking for a place around Beacon Hill or Georgetown to hold her wedding reception next summer. I've suggested the Georgetown Ballroom. Does anyone else have any other ideas? Sounds like non-traditional venue suggestions, like art and/or industrial spaces, are welcome.

My Excuse for Lazy Blog Posting -- I've whined about all this before, but I might not be posting many photos or much original content over the next couple months. In the next four weeks, I plan to work full-time, attend four showers and three weddings, catch up on months of yardwork on two increasingly weed-choked lots, finish a nursery, and have a baby. (Girl, as yet unnamed.) But I plan to check in regularly and continue to link to other people's posts and newspaper articles, though.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mercury

Today the Seattle Times is reporting on the mercury that Duwamish area cement plants are spewing into our air.

It's not clear whether mercury from the Seattle plants winds up concentrated in surrounding neighborhoods. One kind of mercury from smokestacks spreads into the atmosphere, while other kinds are more likely to come back to earth nearby.

There's no evidence that people in the area are at additional risk, Ash Grove Cement spokesman Scott Matter wrote in an e-mail response to questions.

"Operations at Ash Grove and other facilities are closely monitored by EPA and other regulatory agencies," he said.

State and local health and environmental agencies said they knew of no studies looking at the mercury from the Seattle cement plants. The amount of mercury coming from the plant isn't directly monitored by agencies. They rely on annual estimates from the companies.


Yesterday Blogging Georgetown wrote about the West Seattle Blog writing about this same issue.

Georgetown Mural Gone

Just heard that the Georgetown mural on Bailey St. next to the old Hansen's Florists shop has been removed. I presume the building's owners, the Korean Central Baptist Church, removed the mural as part of their expansion into the lower part of the building. Hansen's Florists, who had been downstairs tenants since World War II, recently had to move to 4th Ave. S. to accommodate them. (According to this Seattle Times story: "Personally, I feel bad and sad about the situation, but the church needs the space," said church elder Paul Seo.)

I wonder if the church elders also feel bad and sad about removing the mural without
giving any warning to the community.

Normally I would include a picture here. But I'm not sure I ever bothered taking a picture of the mural because I figured it would always be there.

(Maybe they're readying the space for some big beer ads?)

It would be totally rude and unneighborly for me to say something like I hope the ghosts who supposedly inhabit this former Masonic temple slam an extra door or two in protest.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Georgetown Rock Wall Coming Down

The locally celebrated art trio SuttonBeresCuller will be tearing down this old Georgetown rock wall and "reusing" it somehow:

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I don't know anything about this; just read about it in the Stranger blog at the link above.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Links to Pinata Party Pics, Times Story About "BeHi"

I was out of town, but it looks like the Pinata Party was a lot of fun.

The Seattle Times wrote a story about the "BeHi" nickname for Beacon Hill.

The guy who came up with "BeHi" bumper stickers says the nickname "seems to tap into a younger, hipper, urban crowd who lives on Beacon Hill — people who have a sense of humor and don't take life too seriously."

I guess I don't have a sense of humor -- I don't think it's particularly funny to link the term "BeHi" with a neighborhood where people smoke crack on the bus. Commenters on the story don't think it's very funny either.

Quotes in the story, comments on the story, and recent posts to the Slumberland mailing list (regarding this issue and discussion of local grocery options) mention a generational/gentrificational change happening on the hill. Which strikes me as odd because I think of Beacon Hill as the least changed neighborhood in all of Seattle. In fact, one of the comments to the story hits that nail right on the head:

I've lived in Beacon Hill most of my life. For those who say it's not cool or hip, what is your definition of that? Capital Hill and Fremont's got nothing on Beacon Hill. Try finding parking in any of those neighborhoods. We have plenty of restaurants within minutes on any part of Rainer Ave and MLK. Easy access to Downtown and the freeways. Why change the name of Beacon Hill is beyond me.


This person has lived here most of their life, and all they can recommend about Beacon Hill is its ample parking, freeway access, and proximity to other neighborhoods with restaurants.

Anyway, I'm just not sure what the people who complain about change are complaining about. Compared to the goings-on in Georgetown to the west and Columbia City to the east, virtually nothing has changed on Beacon Hill, for better or for worse.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jefferson Park Funding Upped in Green Space Levy

Just as I was writing to encourage you all to write to City Council to increase funding for Jefferson Park in the proposed Green Space levy, this came in from Jefferson Park Alliance member (and my dear pal) Mira Latoszek:

Hello all,

Just wanted to send out an update of some info that another JPA member received from Councilmember Sally Clark's office. The funding for Jefferson Park has been increased! (see the copy of the email message below).

With this change to the levy, I am ready to support it. Though the amount is still under what we have estimated is necessary for Phase 2, it get it close enough that we could leverage other funding for the balance of the funding. It is also good news that the Maple Leaf reservoir park is getting increased funding. Maple Leaf Park is heading into Phase 1 and was seriously underfunded in the levy.

Lowering SAAM funding and increasing the levels for defined projects in major parks means that these projects will require less money from the opportunity fund. The opportunity fund should be used for just that, "opportunities", rather than projects that we already know need to be done. There are smaller parks and green spaces all over the city which have not had the level of planning that the major reservoir parks have had - places like Dr. Jose Rizal Park, Lewis Park, and the Cheasty Greenspace in our own neighborhood. I'm sure there will be many others that will come up over the coming years. The opportunity fund should be reserved for these projects.

In addition, I am also hearing that the Council is considering stronger language and better defined guidelines for the $10.8 million that is allocated for synthetic turf. The EPA is about to study the toxicity of synthetic turf and the underlayment of ground tires. It would be a giant waste of money for Seattle to install fields with these materials if it is found to be toxic.

I will send more info as I find out more. But I hope that you will join me in supporting these changes to the levy and encourage the Council to put together a levy package that is green in more than just its name.

Thanks,
Mira

_____________________________________________________________________________________


On Monday, Council just increased Jefferson and Maple Leaf monies to five million, plus Jefferson gets a million dollar skate park, while SAM funding was scaled back. At $6 million, Jefferson is the 2nd biggest recipient of funds in the levy, so I don't hear much conversation to give it even more. That would get some things done on phase 2, but probably not all of it.

Best,

Dan Nolte
Office of Councilmember Sally Clark
Seattle City Council

Hit the Beacon Hill Pinata Party This Saturday

From Beacon Hill neighbor Jon Gould:

This year’s Beacon Hill Piñata Party will be Saturday, July 19th from 12-3pm at Triangle Park (17th Ave. S, between Forest and Stevens Streets).

This is a free block party for children and families in the Beacon Hill area. 17th Ave. S. along the park will be closed.

Food, entertainment, piñatas, and fun! Everyone is welcome.

Want to help? Things we need are snacks to share and piñatas to hang. Picnic blankets, too.

Here’s a draft schedule of events:

Noon Franklin High School Lion Dancers
12:30 Songs by the Bay Bay Girls
1:00pm Music by Lushy
1:45pm Piñatas (age 10 and under) and watermelon seed spitting contest

Music by Krab Louie

IN THE PARK……

Beacon Lutheran face painters and clown
Mr. Lieu’s calligraphy
Mike Carney’s balloons
Water balloon tossing
Drawings by Aram

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Jon at 206-328-8310 or jongould@cablespeed.com.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Georgetown's Newest Loft Project

Clean lines. Recycled building materials. Efficient use of space.

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Already sold!

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"Eclectic Urban Oasis ... close to all the hip Georgetown action!"

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Honestly, when I first saw this, I wasn't sure if it was a joke or an actual sales pitch for some new townhouse project. The language used in some of the real press materials for these places sounds just like that.

From a June 18 ek Real Estate Group press release (first mocked at Blogging Georgetown):

The Rebel Is Yelling: Georgetown Development Asserts Community's Gutsy Energy

Sales of Five Industrial Georgetown Lofts Begin

Anyone who steps foot into the artsy community of Georgetown knows that it walks to the beat of its own bohemian marching band. The new Georgetown Lofts, developed by Murray Kahn of Gordian Development, at 6708 Corson Ave. South, is no different. Comprising five, two-bedroom lofts -- priced from the 300,000s -- these offer loft-like living with an edgy, "distinctly Georgetown" vibe.

...

Kahn believes buyers will be drawn to Georgetown's eclectic, tight-knit vibe, where residents and merchants alike are heavily involved in community associations, activities, and events. Larry Reid of Fantagraphic Books says of the area, "The city is in danger of losing its soul, and right now, Georgetown is the soul of Seattle. Georgetown is the last outpost for the blue-collar, bohemian, industrial arts community in Seattle."


So buy some soul before it's all gone?

Photos from Today's Georgetown Art and Garden Walk

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Monstero! Our friend Kevin, a Beacon Hiller, helped build this thing.

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I haven't posted anything about James Paroline, a casualty of a terrifying hostility that seems to plague Southeast Seattle more than anywhere else in the city.

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The 60-year-old man was a passionate gardener, a Vietnam vet, and possibly a bit of a neighborhood curmudgeon who lived down by Kubota Garden. Wednesday night he was tending to the plants in the traffic circle he'd pushed for, and he put up some traffic cones where his hose stretched across the street, indicating to drivers that they should proceed the other way around the circle while he finished his work.

I haven't read all the stories about what exactly went down, but it sounds like some young women in a car got upset that they were being asked to drive on the other side of the circle, so they got out of the car and started arguing with him. When one of them started moving the cones herself, he squirted her with his hose. (I'm not sure what to make of different stories I've heard about whether or not he pushed one of the girls, whether they stomped on his plants, and whether one of them called her mom, who then had a young man come out to take care of things.)

Anyway, a young man in his 20s got out of his car, and punched Paroline in the face so hard that he fell backward onto the pavement, cracking his skull. The young man, still unidentified, then left the scene, leaving the older man lying there, bleeding and unconscious. He died from his injuries in the hospital the following day.

Oh, this is a sad story to have inserted into these photos of the garden tour. Here's the P-I story about a vigil held by neighbors for the man.

Anyway, the Georgetown gardener paying tribute to Paroline today had an especially lovely garden.

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Jules Maes Now Serving Weekend Breakfast

This morning we acted on a rumor that Jules Maes is now serving breakfast on weekends. It turned out to be true -- 10 to 3 on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Georgetown Art and Garden Walk This Sunday



I'll bring a better camera than I did last year:

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Transpo Event on Saturday, Possible Changes to the 36 Next Year

This Saturday, Sustainable South Seattle is hosting a "hands-on event where you and your neighbors work with transportation experts for a climate-friendly future." Register for free attendance at http://www.climatedialogues.org.

Here's the deal:

More walkable neighborhoods. Better Bus Service. Dedicated Bike Lanes. Regional Rapid Transit.

Build support for transportation improvements underway in your neighborhood. Imagine and plan for an economical and environmentally-friendly transportation future. Learn about key climate actions regionally and nationally. Learn how to make your voice heard by elected officials and policy makers.

"This is a great opportunity for Southeast Seattle to take a leadership role." -- Senator Adam Kline

When: July 12, 2008, 10 am - 2 pm (doors open 9:30 am)
Where: New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave S. (4 blocks south of S. Alaska)

Food and drink provided (bring your own mug!)
Free admission – Donations accepted.

Space is limited. Please RSVP online at http://www.climatedialogues.org to reserve your spot.

Climate Action Labs are a project of the Seattle Climate Dialogues and Northwest Environmental Education Council, with help from WSU Extension and TGreen Consulting.

Participants to include:

Bikes: Virginia Coffman of SDOT/Bike Master Plan
Ped: Lisa Quinn (ED of Feet First)
Transit: Jack Whisner (senior transp planner at KC Metro and also Sierra Club/TCC activist)
Funding/Tolling: Michael McGinn (ED of Seattle Great City Initiative)
Land Use: Sara Nikolic (Urban Strategies Director at Futurewise)
Climate: Phil Mitchell


In other transpo news, Roger Pence, a community outreach coordinator for Link light rail, recently wrote to the Beacon Hill Slumberland mailing list about some Route 36 changes that Metro is contemplating to go along with the opening of light rail next year. Here's the bulk of his comments:

Metro is contemplating moving the south terminus from Rainier Beach to the Link station at MLK & Othello. Southbound Route 36 buses would turn east on Myrtle to a new turnaround loop at the Othello Station. The trolleybus wires would be extended for this connection.

Given that travel time to downtown on the rail will be half or better than that of the 36 bus, it is reasonable to expect that many riders will voluntarily transfer, whether at the Beacon Hill station (at Lander St.) or at Othello Station at MLK & Othello. But for those who don't mind the leisurely ride, a direct bus ride will still be there. Riders transferring at Lander St. should also provide more empty seats on the 36 for those riders on the north end of the hill. The elevator ride down to the trains will take about 20 seconds, and the trains will arrive every 6 minutes during rush hours (10 minutes midday). Riders will voluntarily decide whether the transfer is worth it to them. Travel time on the rail from Beacon Hill Station to the Pioneer Square Station, estimated 8 minutes. To Westlake Station, estimated 12 minutes.

If the south terminus of the 36 is moved to Othello Station, the south end of the 36 (south of Myrtle) would be covered by another route, most likely the 106. Every Beacon Hill bus rider would still have available a direct, no transfer ride, to downtown. And the contemplated changes in the 38 would lengthen and strengthen that route (but it won't be extended to First Ave. until we get an overpass over the railroad tracks at Lander St.; otherwise the buses are hostage to BNSF train traffic).

And no, Route 36 ridership does not exceed what is expected on the rail line. The most recent data I've seen show about 9,000 daily riders on the 36. Sound Transit is projecting 42,000 daily riders on the initial segment of Link light rail, a projection made, btw, when gasoline was running below $2/gallon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rainier Valley Post Trying to Follow Up on Aki Kurose MS Assaults

Kudos to the Rainier Valley Post for e-mailing Seattle Public Schools with the questions we all have about the recent student-on-student sexual assault and the instructor-on-student sexual assault at Aki Kurose Middle School.

Here are the questions she's asked.

Regarding alleged staff-on-student sexual assault (2006-08):

1. Where was the teacher during the alleged two years of abuse? If students noticed, took photos and were concerned enough to tell their parents, how is it that the teacher wasn't aware?

2. In light of the recent alleged student-on-student assault, is Aki Kurose having supervision issues? Are there enough adults there to teach and keep children safe?
What was the timeline of events here? When did school officials become aware there was a problem? Who/when reported to police?

3. Who saw what and on what date did they report it and to whom did they report it?
On what date was Urrutia was pulled from the classroom and placed on paid administrative leave?

Regarding alleged student-on-student sexual assault (6/11/08):

1. Why didn't SPS employees didn't call 911, since District spokeswoman Patti Spencer claims that district protocol is for officials to call police "immediately" when a sexual assault occurs on campus?

2. Does the district plan to investigate the school official's failure to call 911 or reach police directly when the girl reported to them that she was raped? If so, when will the investigation begin and how long is it expected to take? If no, why not?

3. This report comes one year to the day after a 15-year-old student at Rainier Beach High School was raped by a classmate and school officials failed to filed a report, and at a time when SPS is investing millions in failing SE schools as part of SE Initiative. Is SPS staff confused about the district's policy? Are there any plans to clarify for all SPS staff?


I'll keep checking the Rainier Valley Post for a followup post; you should too.

Police on Illegal Fireworks: Don't Worry, You Won't Get into Trouble

Today there are big stories in both dailies about how the Seattle Police Department doesn't plan to cite anyone for illegal fireworks use this weekend.

In the Times:

Jamieson conceded that if police encounter fireworks, it's likely officers will merely confiscate them and not make an arrest.


And the P-I:

To possess fireworks sold on Washington Indian reservations is to commit a federal crime. But fireworks offenders rarely receive even a slap on the wrist.

Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson said the department's standard practice is to seize fireworks they come across without issuing citations.

"Typically officers will just confiscate," Jamieson said. "If there's a crime associated with it or people are using the fireworks to blow up something, then it's a different matter."


And they're also telling people not to call 911 with reports of illegal fireworks use. (And please don't. Save those calls for when someone gets hurt or when a house catches on fire. Don't tie up the lines unless there's an immediate danger.)

According to the P-I, SPD spokesman Mark Jamieson said, "residents with fireworks complaints should call their area's non-emergency lines, which are listed in the phone book."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I won't even bother listing that number here for you. (OK, what the hell, it's 206-625-5011.) If you're reporting a rape at gunpoint, you might get a call back sometime during the next business day. I highly doubt they'll be following up on fireworks reports that they wouldn't even cite someone for if they saw them with their own eyes.

***Update: I changed my mind. I think you SHOULD call the non-emergency number with fireworks reports. If you call the non-emergency number, I promise to follow up with the SPD next week and ask them how they're using those reports, which they specifically asked the public to make.

So I can't see why you'd want to waste your time leaving a message at that number, unless after the fact the police planned to analyze the numbers of calls they received from different areas and use them to help dedicate July 4 resources more proportionally in the future. (But I kind of doubt it, as the SPD doesn't seem to be terribly good at dealing with the metrics it's already collecting...)

Besides, they already know where the problem areas are. The increasingly awesome Rainier Valley Post has reported that the police are closing three parks here in Southeast Seattle "due to a "history of violence and pretty severe vandalism" starting in the mid-afternoon on July 4. These are the only three parks in the city that will be closed tomorrow.

The RVP is also reporting that many community members support the temporary closures. A spokesperson for Friends of Othello Park has described past July 4 situations at the park like this:

All the violence in the park culminated in one of the worst shoot outs with more than 50 rounds fired. Bullets were flying every where and into neighbor's houses and hitting parked cars. A man was killed in the park that night and the suspects are still at large. The year before pitbull dogs were seen hanging from trees from their jaws. It is an ugly sight to see.


Try to stay safe tomorrow, folks. Save your 911 calls for shootouts, killings, injuries, fires, and dogs hanging from trees. (And keep your fingers crossed for a little more rain!)

Baja Bistro Bar

I hadn't been to Baja Bistro in months and months, so Tuesday was the first time I'd seen their new bar. Looks nice!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Help Improve the 36

I would be eternally grateful if Beacon Hill residents joined this board and advocated for much-needed improvements on the 36 route.

http://transit.metrokc.gov/up/announce/soundingboard.html

Metro Transit, Sound Transit seek advisory group members

Help form recommendations about bus service and connections to Link light rail

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit invite you to apply to serve on a community advisory board.

Metro and Sound Transit are considering changes to bus routes in the I-5 south corridor and in areas served by Link light rail, which will begin service in the summer of 2009. Changes might be made to provide bus connections to Link stations from neighborhoods, to improve bus service frequency and coverage, and to avoid duplication of service.

The transit agencies are forming two community advisory groups, called Transit Connections sounding boards. One sounding board will be in southeast Seattle (Rainier Valley, Skyway, West Hill and nearby areas), and one will be in southwest King County (Burien, Des Moines, SeaTac, Tukwila and nearby areas).

The sounding boards will provide advice early in the planning process about what changes would be best for local communities. They will make recommendations to transit agency staff and elected policymakers.

Approximately 30 transit riders and other community members will be selected to represent a broad cross-section of people who live, work, or go to school in the project areas.

The sounding boards will meet together on September 4 and 11, 2008. Then the boards will meet separately from October 2008 through February 2009. The sounding boards will meet together in March 2009 to make recommendations.

Bus routes in the project area: Metro Transit routes 7, 8, 9, 14-South, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 42, 48, 60, 106, 107, 126, 128, 140, 154, 170, 174, 175, 180, 190, 191, and 194; and Sound Transit routes 560, 574, 577 and 594
How to apply

To apply for membership on a sounding board, please complete the application below and submit it by Thursday, July 31, 2008
The role of sounding board members

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit are committed to working with communities as we consider possible changes to transit service in southeast Seattle and southwest King County. Sounding board members will play an important role throughout the planning process by:

* Participating in sounding board meetings between September 2008 and March 2009.
* Attending additional public meetings hosted by Metro Transit in local communities.
* Reviewing communities' transit needs with staff and providing transit riders' perspectives.
* Working together with other sounding board members to arrive at consensus recommendations about changes to bus service.
* Rainier Valley/Skyway/West Hill Sounding Board Meetings
6:30-8:30 p.m. at a location in the Rainier Valley unless otherwise noted
o September 4 and 11, meetings to be held in downtown Seattle
o October 15, 22, and 29
o November 12 and 19
o January 28
o February 11 and 25
o March 5 and 12, meetings to be held in downtown Seattle
* Southeast King County Sounding Board Meetings
6:30-8:30 p.m. at Foster High School in Tukwila unless otherwise noted
o September 4 and 11, meetings to be held in downtown Seattle
o October 16, 23, and 30
o November 13 and 20
o January 29
o February 12 and 26
o March 5 and 12, meetings to be held in downtown Seattle

Transit Connections Sounding Board Application Form

Please note: Sounding Board members cannot be employees of King County, King County Metro, or Sound Transit. If you think you might have a conflict of interest, such as contract work with the county or Sound Transit, please consult with the King County Board of Ethics before applying: 206-296-1586, www.kingcounty.gov/employees/ethics.

Complete and send this application by Thursday, July 31, 2008.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Luthens, community relations planner
206-684-1154 TTY Relay: 711
Fax: 206-263-3489
sarah.luthens@kingcounty.gov

King County Department of Transportation
201 S. Jackson St., KSC-TR-0824
Seattle, WA 98104-3856.

Aki Kurose Middle School in the News Again

Back in April, students on the playfield at Aki Kurose Middle School were witnesses to shooting on an adjacent street.

In June, a student was raped at what she believed was gunpoint by another student in the school bathroom. When she notified school administrators, they left a voice mail on the police non-emergency number and sent the students home.

Now the P-I is reporting that an instructor at the school has been accused of "sexually touching two female students over two years during an English language immersion class at Aki Kurose Middle School."

The timeline in the story is extremely vague. The most telling sentence is the last one:

"After one boy took pictures with his cell phone, the mothers visited the school, witnessed similar behavior and notified an administrator, documents say."

So weird. That part makes it sound like school administrators were notified before the police were. However, another part of the story says that "Seattle Public Schools spokesman David Tucker said Urrutia was pulled from the classroom and placed on paid administrative leave earlier this year as soon as police disclosed the criminal investigation." I guess the administrators knew but didn't do anything about it until police got involved?

Anyway, kids, if you want to report sex crimes at Aki Kurose and have someone take you seriously, please try to obtain some photographic evidence. Also, remember that you can use your camera cell phone to call 911 yourselves. It's not like the school officials there, or your parents, are necessarily going to do it for you.

There's actually another story about Aki Kurose and two other South Seattle schools in yesterday's P-I. It's about the Southeast Initiative, which would spend $7 million on improvements to Aki Kurose, Cleveland High, and Rainier Beach High.

But school board vice president Michael DeBell is wondering whether these three schools really need that much help.

"It's a pretty expensive proposition we have now," the P-I reported him as sayinbg. "Part of it is just a question of scale. Do we need to have all these interventions simultaneously?"

I'm guessing his kids are not at Aki Kurose.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Seattle Police Department and My Neighborhood Map

In case heard me on the radio today and wanted to see the posts about Seattle.gov's My Neighborhood Map program and the Seattle Police Department's crime statistics, here they are:

SPD Crime Data: ? (Jan. 26)
SPD Crime Data: Still Screwy (Mar. 30)
Seattle.gov's Neighborhood Crime Into: Totally Inaccurate (June 27)

Please note that everyone I've talked to at the city has been really, really nice. I think they're doing their best with limited resources. And I have not had a chance to follow up with the SPD yet (I work full-time and am having a baby in seven weeks, so this little research project has not been a huge priority for me lately).

I mentioned that watching "The Wire" helped prompt my interest in this subject, but I have found absolutely no evidence of corruption or anything like that. It's possible that there's a perfectly good explanation about why the mid-December matricide incident was not showing up in the December numbers last time I checked (even though the woman was pronounced dead at the scene and the King County Medical Examiner's office quickly ruled it a homicide).

My suspicion is that there is a fair amount of clerical error at the SPD and at the city, and that's why the numbers are off.

What I'd like to see:

-- More transparency in the crime statistics. For instance, when the mayor's office announces there were 24 murders in 2007, maybe they could include a link to the names of the victims, or at least the dates of the incidents.

-- More information about how the numbers are collected and what they mean. What does it take for a murder to be counted in the reports as a homicide? I would think that the county medical examiner's word would be good enough. Surely they're not waiting until someone's been convicted in court? Anyway, just a little FAQ that addresses these questions would be great.

-- Independent action by the major news media. Instead of waiting for the mayor to come out with a press release about the number of murders in 2007 and parroting that in a news story, why not go through your own archives and tally up the numbers for yourselves?

-- QA on the published info. If you mix up all the August numbers with all the September numbers, well, someone should catch that. And it should be called out on the site.

-- Better disclaimers about the inaccuracy of the information. If you know it's wrong, just say so. Or take it down until it can be fixed.

Kusina Filipina Mural

I posted some photos of this as a work in progress; now here's the finished work:

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