[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The White Center Blog nor its staff:]

Dear King County Executive Constantine,

If there has been any question that King County policies and political practices in 2016 are subject to the continued presence of institutional racism, the actions of the King County Council yesterday, July 25, should end all doubt. Unfortunately, it seems there is much to do before anyone can make an honest claim that institutional racism in King County government has been eliminated.

I’m speaking, of course, about King County marijuana policy, and in particular about its policy on retail marijuana stores.

As you know, in December 2013 by a vote of 9-0, the King County Council passed and you the Executive signed into law the first zoning of state licensed retail marijuana stores in King County. The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board subsequently began the process to issue licenses statewide in May of 2014. By this action by King County, retail marijuana stores were explicitly permitted in only two zones in unincorporated King County–the Regional Business and Community Business zones. By this law, retail marijuana stores are prohibited in any other zone, be it a business zone or otherwise.

King County’s institutional racism enters the picture in that these two zones are concentrated almost exclusively in Skyway and White Center, the two most diverse communities in unincorporated King County. (As you may know, my zip code, 98178, that includes Skyway has been cited as one of the 10 most diverse zip codes in the entire country.) It has long been observed that zoning laws in particular have been a bastion of institutional government racism throughout the history of this country. And, not surprisingly in hindsight, 14 of 17 retail marijuana stores that have been licensed by the State of Washington to date in unincorporated King County are located in Skyway and White Center. There can be no doubt that this high concentration of stores falling exclusively into the two largely Black and Asian communities of Skyway and White Center is a direct result of that self-same 2013 King County marijuana zoning policy. Congratulations. You have also created the highest concentration of state-regulated pot stores anywhere in the state!

Of the diversity of my community, I am justifiably proud. Of my local government’s seeming endemic propensity for institutional racism, not so much, because it seems in these decisions the full weight of that government is being brought to bear against my community, the community of White Center, and virtually no other.

Yesterday’s King County Council meeting did little to address the pleas from my community and those of White Center for the county to end this high concentration of retail marijuana stores. I have been speaking out to King County since May of 2014 about the subject. I could see this happening long before the first retail marijuana store in Skyway opened in December 2014 and I have been vocal and transparent about what I could see coming. At each and every step of the way, I and other members of these communities have continued to express our concern to the county over the inappropriate concentration of these stores in our communities even as the concentration has surpassed our worst fears. It’s debatable whether the token expression of the council, that they have crafted the appearance of making room for up to 6 of the 17 retail marijuana stores to be located in the 3 council districts where 80% of unincorporated residents live, can be at all effective to site even one of these stores in those districts. Such transparently obstructive action by the council would be laughable on its face if this were not such a serious matter. Oh, and now it’s time to put on the brakes–hold your horses folks–so that we can study the effects of marijuana stores on communities before the county will allow them in “certain” areas of the county (wink, wink). To put it another way, every community in the unincorporated county now will be afforded the opportunity to take advantage of better study-informed county-wide marijuana policies except for the communities of Skyway and White Center.

The council’s current action is simply more resistance and obstruction to a policy, whether or not to legalize marijuana businesses in King County, that ought to either have been fairly enacted county-wide in 2013, or to have been acknowledged at the time not to be the true intent of this county. When it comes to unincorporated King County, the council has just tipped its hand that it really doesn’t want marijuana businesses county-wide. I can assure you that no one in Skyway or White Center wants all the county’s marijuana businesses in our communities either.

I have to tell you, sir, that your Department of Permitting and Environmental Review has also been one of the most obstructionist enablers of this fait accompli. To be fair, that department’s mission in government has historically been to support the status quo. Zoning laws are created with the expectation they will last a long time, not necessarily that they are fair. When these land use regulations end up being racist, though, the status quo is really a sad thing to see being enforced. It really shines a bad light on your administration and the governance of the King County Council as local government to the unincorporated area that even in 2016 it continues to be politically more expedient to continue the county’s past racially biased practices than it is to bring fairness to a broken system.

Let these facts be known: More than 80% of unincorporated King County residents these days live closer to a Neighborhood Business zone than they do to a Community Business zone or to the last remaining Regional Business zone in unincorporated King County (that last located in the White Center area). The population center of unincorporated King County is now in rural East King County as a consequence of the county’s implementation of the Growth Management Act. Yet King County zoning policies for retail marijuana stores have never fairly reflected this reality. Your proposed 2016 Comprehensive Plan quadrennial major update does not reflect this reality. And King County’s land use policies for retail marijuana give the majority white communities in the unincorporated county a very powerful basis to object to these stores in their communities while affording absolutely no way for community objections in the majority Black and Asian communities in the unincorporated county to be sustained. We have found through sad and truly disheartening experience that there is no appeal to a land use decision by DPER that is permissible under zoning without development conditions. The status quo rules the day in such cases.

So long as DPER continues to be directed to put on the blinders (or if you like to not to be directed to take off its blinders) and to not fairly administer zoning laws when asked to provide its expert advice in major zoning changes, such as marijuana zoning in 2013, major Comprehensive Plan updates, or in the recent re-visiting of marijuana policy that just occurred, King County will continue to fail in its mission of fairness and justice.

Let this also be clear: At yesterday’s County Council meeting, the council listened to and acted in favor of the objections of communities where no retail marijuana stores are now permissible and against the interests of communities where an over concentration of retail marijuana stores has already occurred. Its actions were patently not fair, such actions are an injustice, and they are a shameful stain on today’s Martin Luther King Jr. County!

Next steps to bring true fairness to this currently broken system at King County? I look forward to your heartfelt response. Institutional government racism, unintentional as it may be, ought to have no place in either today’s King County nor tomorrow’s.

In sincere grief,
–Mark Johnston
Skyway resident

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]

From Advertiser Puget Sound Moving:

Planning for your move makes for an exciting time. Especially when it comes to long distance residential moves, the idea of starting a new life in a faraway place is an attractive one. However, in order to start that new life off on the right foot, you want to carefully choose a Seattle moving company that can take care of the move in a trustworthy, professional manner.

When you’re shopping for long distance movers, you want to take some time to compare the businesses that offer this service and decide which one represents the best value for your needs. Not all movers are made equally, as anyone who has ever lost a valuable possession or heirloom when moving can tell you.

When choosing a mover for a long-haul trip, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Do They Share Trucks? Truck sharing saves money for moving companies. However, it also introduces the potential for misplacing customers’ possessions into the process. The longer the distance is to your destination, the more stops and starts there will be on the way and the greater the chance is that at some point one of your belongings will accidentally be left at someone else’s new home.
  • Does Each Move Have One Moving Team? When one moving team takes care of loading, transporting and unloading your belongings, the risk of damage or item misplacement is very low. When multiple teams coordinate to make the move happen, there is a much greater chance that one of the hand-off team members accidentally damages an item or forgets about it because none of them actually packed or loaded anything.
  • Is Transport Direct or With En Route Drop-offs and Pick-ups? A highly professional moving company will insist on direct, non-stop transport. Just like truck sharing saves money without offering any value to the customer, so does route-sharing.
  • Is A Specific Delivery Date Guaranteed? Many van line services offer a range of dates for delivery, generally within a 5-day period. When planning a move into a new city, it really helps to know that your belongings are going to show up exactly when you expect them.
  • Who Do You Call When Things Go Wrong? Delivery date missed? Item damaged? Simply wondering where your items are and want someone to tell you? Choose a moving company that delegates a single office for your entire move so that you always have one point of contact for your concerns—don’t get caught up in a bureaucratic turnaround calling three or four different offices all around the country to get a single question answered.

These are just some of the concerns you should bring up when choosing a reliable moving company in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about the subject by clicking here and seeing how Puget Sound Moving compares to your typical van line service.

long-distance-movers-in-seattle-wa-comparison

Puget Sound Moving has provided the Seattle area with top-quality residential and commercial moving services since 2009 and maintains a stellar reputation as a leader in the industry.

At Monday’s meeting (July 25), the King County Council voted to approve legislation refining existing land use regulations concerning the growth, processing, and retail sale of marijuana in unincorporated areas.

Included in the adopted ordinance are measures to:

  • Remove all parcels under 10 acres and designated as Rural Area (RA) zones from use in the production (growth), processing, and retail sale of marijuana.
  • Exempt Vashon from restrictions on the use of RA zoned land for production and processing of marijuana.
  • Approve studies on potential retail and processing in specific locations.
  • Require the County Executive to identify 10 locations suitable for retail in Neighborhood Business (NB) zoned areas across unincorporated King County.

The ordinance was passed by the council 5-3, receiving support from Councilmembers Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert, Pete von Reichbauer, Claudia Balducci, and Dave Upthegrove.

Those voting in opposition were Councilmembers Joe McDermott, Rod Dembowski, and Larry Gossett, while Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles was excused.

“We adopted zoning for legal marijuana uses two and half years ago,” Dembowski said. “Residents have raised some heartfelt concerns about the location of some of these new businesses. I opposed today’s proposal to remove hundreds of thousands of acres of land and to impose new burdens on this budding industry because I believe a lot more work is necessary to fully understand the impacts of the various proposals to change the rules related to marijuana.”

The county is presently under a four-month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for or the establishment or location of marijuana producers, processors, and retailers in unincorporated areas. The approved ordinance will end the moratorium and goes into effect 10 days after receiving signature from Executive Dow Constantine.

The council adopted legislation to allow retail marijuana stores in geographic areas where none exist currently; to require separation between retailers in areas where multiple shops already exist and to limit growing, production and processing facilities in the rural areas to zones with lots of 10 acres or larger. Production and processing facilities continue to be allowed in previously-permitted zones such as agricultural and industrial areas. The action also called for a broader study of marijuana land uses in unincorporated King County, including further potential expansion of retail in neighborhood business zones.

“Today’s action improves access and equity in King County’s fledgling marijuana industry, by allowing retail stores in locations throughout King County in areas where it was previously prohibited,” Balducci – who voted for the measure – said. “This will provide better access for marijuana patients and customers, while taking pressure off the small unincorporated urban areas like Skyway and White Center that have seen a concentration of multiple stores. In addition, the Council added a requirement that marijuana retail stores locate at least 1,000 feet apart, which will further limit the increasing concentration of stores in small, lower-income areas of urban King County.”

A study by the University of Washington recently found that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed producers in Washington is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets. At the same time, the recent closure of medical dispensaries has affected patients’ ability to continue to obtain a supply of medical marijuana products. The Council’s vote today balances expanding access to retail marijuana with protection of existing neighborhoods who are bearing the impact of this new and growing market, while continuing to allow production and processing in large parts of King County, covering tens of thousands of acres in multiple land use zones.

Repair-Kent-06

The next White Center ‘Repair Time Fix-It’ event will be on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the White Center Community Center in Steve Cox Memorial Park.

Bring your small household items including clothing and we’ll try to repair them or help you fix them! We want to keep stuff out of the landfill, conserve resources and save you money. Free to the public!

This will be the first public repair event in White Center. Two previous repair events in White Center on April 26, 2016, and June 11, 2016, served the King County Housing Authority community Seola Gardens.

You must be present during the repair. We will have people experienced in fixing various things. Sorry, no guarantee an item can be fixed, or that attempting to fix it won’t break it even more. For items needing product-specific parts, we’ll try to tell you exactly what part you need so you can order it online and finish the repair yourself at home.

Please only bring items small enough to be easily carried in by one person. Please do not bring any items that are leaking, dangerous, contain gasoline, or have a strong odor.

To sign up to attend, or if you have questions, please contact Tom Watson at 206-477-4481.

“If there is strong interest, we will schedule more of these in the future or on a regular basis, possibly at other locations in White Center. Thanks!”

Steve Cox Memorial Park is located at  1321 SW 102nd Street.

On the front steps of Burien’s deteriorating Highline High School on Saturday (July 23), families, residents, students and teachers came together to help kick-off Highline Public Schools’ Nov. 8 bond.

“Now is the time, we must join together to support our students and schools here in the Highline School District,” said Chuck Tuman, campaign co-chair. “We have a strong plan, developed by a citizen committee, to meet the immediate needs of our district, and also plan for the future.”

Speakers at the kick-off – which was hosted by Tuman – included Sen. Karen Keiser, Highline High alum Maya Mendoza-Exstrom, and Benji Box, a current student:

Here’s a video of the kick-off event:

More than 40 parents, community members and staff spent nearly a year studying the issues to make a recommendation to the Highline Public Schools to help alleviate the problems with capacity, security and modernization. The Capital Facilities Advisory Committee’s (CFAC) presented its recommendations to the School Board for a November 2016 bond, as well as a long-term facility plan for the future of our district.

“It was an amazing experience to dig deep into enrollment projections, facility needs and long-term plans and work together to come up with solutions,” said Susan West, Normandy Park citizen and member of the citizens’ committee. “I am proud of our recommendations to help meet the needs of our growing district and ensure our students are safe.”

Highline Public Schools is a fast-growing district with several school buildings in severe need of replacement or modernization.

CFAC’s plan outlines three phases of improvements over 15-18 years. Each phase would require a voter-approved bond to fund construction.

The committee identified four top-priority problems to be solved in Phase 1:

  • Elementary capacity – With growing enrollment and state funding for smaller class sizes, more elementary classrooms are needed.
  • Middle school capacity – Current middle schools do not have room to accommodate growing enrollment and the addition of sixth grade.
  • Des Moines Elementary – This 90-year-old school is ranked as the Highline school in worst condition in an independent survey by architects.
  • Highline High School – HHS is ranked in second worst condition in the same survey.

“We are looking for volunteers to help us ensure people are registered to vote, have the information they need to understand our bond and then vote YES in November,” Chuck said. “Please check out our website and join us in supporting our students and our schools.”

To register to vote, visit: www.vote.wa.gov

For more information:

Here’s episode #61 of our SoKing News Podcast Weekly Recap, which is sponsored by a generous grant from J-Lab’s Encore Media Entrepreneurs program, supported with funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation:

SoKing News Weekly Recap for July 22-25, 2016: Port of Seattle asks Burien to vacate land in NERA; Burien City Council extends CARES; Highline Public Schools bond will be on Nov. ballot; Puget Sound Weather Geek forecast; Jack Mayne on local election issues; ‘The Final Take’ & more…

Please share this Podcast – just press the Menu button above and elect ‘Share’! You can also subscribe, hear previous episodes and rate us on iTunes here!

WCB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for this SUNDAY – is a great, hard-to-find Rambler located next to a Renton Park!

Much attention has been paid to both the front and back yards, with raised garden beds that produce both fruit and flowers.

The amenities of the home include a 50-year roof, heat pump providing A/C, bay windows in both the living room and master bedroom, hardwood and laminate floors, a wood stove and gas furnace and a ramp in the garage providing handicap access.

See it this Sunday!

Here are some pics (click images to see larger versions):

1002192-01

1002192-04

1002192-02

1002192-03

1002192-05

1002192-06

1002192-07

1002192-08

1002192-09

1002192-10

1002192-11

1002192-12

1002192-13

1002192-14

1002192-15

1002192-16

Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House.

WHEN: Sunday, July 24: Noon – 3 p.m.

WHERE: 17226 130th Ave SE, Renton, 98058 (MAP, also see below)

INFO:

  • List Price: $339,900
  • MLS Number: 1002192
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 1.75
  • Year Built: 1968
  • Approximate House SqFt: 1,470 s.f.
  • Approximate Lot SqFt: 8,010 s.f.

Site Features:

  • Dbl Pane/Storm Windw
  • Dining Room
  • Skylights
  • Walk-in Closet
  • Fruit Trees
  • Garden Space

Marketing Remarks:

Great hard-to-find rambler located on a dead end street and backing to Renton Park providing a very private setting.

Much attention has been paid to both the front and back yards with raised garden beds producing both fruit and flowers.

The amenities of the home include a 50 year roof, heat pump providing a/c, bay windows in both the living room and master bedroom, hardwood and laminate floors, a wood stove and gas furnace and a ramp in the garage providing handicap access.

See it this Sunday!

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

Click here to view all of Berkshire Hathaway’s Open Houses, and click here to “Like” them on Facebook.

image1-14

Due to complications with power line maintenance inside Steve Cox Memorial Park there will be no electricity inside the stadium – therefore the first pitch for this weekend’s Highline Bears games has moved UP from 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for both Friday July 22 (vs the Northwest Honkers), and against the Seattle Studs on Saturday July 23.

Tickets to Highline Bears home games are $5 per person, kids 12 and under are FREE!

To purchase tickets, click here, or buy them at the gate!

Steve Cox Memorial Park is located at 1321 SW 102nd Street in White Center (map below).

“We hope to see you all out at the ballpark! Go Bears!”

The King County Council announced that it will take action on pot regulations at its meeting on Monday, July 25.

As we previously reported, numerous residents in unincorporated areas – including in and around White Center – have expressed concerns regarding the existing regulations for marijuana production, processing and retailing.

“In order to review these concerns in rural areas, as well as consider an Executive proposal to regulate clustering of retail locations, the King County Council voted to pass a four-month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for or the establishment or location of new marijuana producers, processors and retailers on April 25, 2016,” the council said.

Councilmembers are scheduled to discuss and possibly act on two ordinances – 2016-0236 and 2016-0254 – that would amend current marijuana regulations in unincorporated King County.

The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle.

Here are the details:

WHAT: The Metropolitan King County Council will hear public testimony and possibly act on legislation impacting zoning for the production, processing and sale of legal marijuana in unincorporated King County.

WHERE: King County Courthouse, 10th floor, 516 Third Ave, Seattle 98104.

WHEN: Monday, July 25th, 1:30 p.m.

BACKGROUND: In 2013, the King County Council adopted initial zoning regulations governing the production, processing and sale of legalized marijuana in unincorporated King County. Since adoption of these initial zoning regulations, King County has received and processed numerous applications for marijuana-related land uses.

Some residents have expressed concerns regarding the existing regulations for marijuana production, processing and retailing. In order to review these concerns in rural areas, as well as consider an Executive proposal to regulate clustering of retail locations, the King County Council voted to pass a four-month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for or the establishment or location of new marijuana producers, processors and retailers on April 25, 2016.

After two special meetings of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee, Councilmembers are scheduled to discuss and possibly act on two ordinances, 2016-0236 and 2016-0254, that would amend current marijuana regulations in unincorporated King County.

HMSHOST TO HOST JOB FAIR FOR VARIETY OF RESTAURANTS
AT SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT JULY 26!

Multiple opportunities available!

Interview directly with hiring managers!

WHO: HMSHost at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

WHAT: Job Fair – HMSHost is seeking to fill restaurant positions at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Positions available include 1 Sous Chef, 2 Shift Managers, Baristas, Cooks, CSA/Cashier, Food Preps.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

WHERE: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 17801 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98158. Room # – MT 272 2F (head towards pre-security Starbucks and you should see the signs) Interviews on site. Immediate hires.

Onsite Contact:  Allison Newsham, Allison.Newsham@hmshost.com – 206.433.5644

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports around the globe, including 44 of the 50 busiest airports in North America. The Company has annual sales in excess of $2.8 billion and employs more than 37,000 sales associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of around €4.3 billion in 2015, the Group operates in 31 countries and employs over 57,000 people. It manages approximately 4,200 stores in over 1,000 locations worldwide.

Visit www.HMSHost.com for more information.

We can also be found on Facebook at fb.com/HMSHost and on Twitter at @HMSHost

EOE | Minority/Female/Disabled/Veteran/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity | DFWP | Background checks will be required prior to beginning employment.

CFAC members tour 90-year-old Des Moines Elementary School.

CFAC members tour 90-year-old Des Moines Elementary School.

A community-led plan for a school construction bond will go before voters on Nov. 8, 2016, Highline Public Schools announced Thursday morning, July 21.

The proposed bond would fund repair or replace deteriorating schools, ease overcrowding, and make safety improvements at all Highline schools.

The School Board passed the resolution at its Wednesday night (July 20) meeting to place the bond measure on the ballot.

The proposed $299 million bond measure contains all the projects recommended in Phase 1 of the plan developed by the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), a 39-member, community-led committee.

CFAC is composed of Highline residents, staff, and students. CFAC committee members spent the past year intensely studying the district’s facility needs and creating a long-range facilities plan and bond proposal.

The committee was chaired by former Burien City Councilmember Rose Clark, SeaTac resident Danielle Houle, and Health Sciences & Human Services High School student Larissa Hueta-Merlo.

“This was truly a community-driven process. It was important to us to recommend a plan that the community can pay for and support,” said Clark.

Committee members studied enrollment projections, building capacity, building conditions, financial constraints, related legislation, additional funding available, construction costs and other factors. The committee then developed a priority list of problems to be solved and defined a solution for each.

“The committee dug into the data and developed a plan that will meet the capital facilities needs across our district, based on all the data,” said Houle.

If approved, the bond would:

  • Fund security improvements at all schools in the district.
  • Rebuild Highline High School, preserving as much of the façade as structurally and financially feasible.
  • Begin design of new Evergreen and Tyee campuses.
  • Build new school on the district-owned Zenith site to house Des Moines Elementary students, with room for growing enrollment.
  • Build a new middle school on the district-owned Glacier site.
  • Replenish the capital fund, which will be depleted in 2017-18. This fund covers critical needs and emergency repairs.
    Make required improvements to the Olympic site, so it can be used to house students during the HHS construction and future school construction projects.

“We have deteriorating buildings that must be replaced or repaired in order to provide safe, modern facilities for students that meet today’s learning standards. We also need to build new schools to make room for a growing student population, and voter-approved bonds are our only method to do that,” said School Board President Michael Spear. “The Board truly appreciates the work and the recommendation by the Committee and the time it took to develop.”

Why run the bond in November? The district listed three reasons:

  1. Higher than average voter turnout is expected, due to the presidential election, so more community members will participate in the decision.
  2. Sharing the ballot with other measures reduces the costs the district must pay the county for the election.
  3. With construction costs rising, the sooner construction begins the less expensive it will be.

To learn more about CFAC, please visit highlineschools.org/CFAC.