4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

2014 February

Get Results

Customer Service Bureau

You deserve results from your local government. If you see graffiti, a broken sign, or have a problem with a city service in your neighborhood, call 206-684-2489 (CITY) today. The public servants at the Customer Service Bureau are there to solve these problems. Ask for a tracking number and follow-up. You can also try the city’s new mobile phone app “Find It, Fix It” which enables you to pinpoint the location of the problem and upload photos.  See the Before and After photos of the tripping hazard we got our city government to fix.

Get Results

Shopping Carts

Are you tired of seeing abandoned shopping carts littering our neighborhoods? If you see an abandoned cart, call the grocery store and report the address.  For the QFC websiteclick here. The U-Village QFC # is 206-523-5160, then press 0. For the Safeway websiteclick here. The U-Village Safeway #  is 206-522-8350, then press 8.  The U-District Safeway # (on Brooklyn) is 206-522-4565, then press 8. Unfortunately, the Seattle city government does not typically remove shopping carts and there is no city ordinance to encourage grocery stores to retrieve them.

Due, in part, to the frustration of not having a point person to solve basic city problems, voters recently approved a new neighborhood-based method for electing 7 of our 9 City Councilmembers.  Northeast Seattle includes districts #4 and parts of #5. We will select these neighborhood Councilmembers in 2015.  In the meantime, if you see graffiti, a broken sign, or have a problem with a city service in your neighborhood [except abandoned shopping carts 🙁 ], call 206-684-2489 (CITY) today. The public servants at the Customer Service Bureau are there to solve these problems. Ask for a tracking number and follow-up. You can also try the city’s new mobile phone app “Find It, Fix It” which enables you to pinpoint the location of the problem and upload photos — but calling gets results much quicker!  Thanks to new District elections, we will be able to call our District 4 or 5 Councilmembers for quicker results. For creative ideas on how to engage citizens to reinvent government, check out the 2013 book Citizenville.

1 Meeting to Connect

Safety is a Priority

In addition to schools and transportation, public safety consistently ranks as a top priority throughout Seattle. In the past 20 months, Northeast Seattle has been the scene of a massacre at Café Racermurder and manhunts in Ravenna Park, school lockdowns afterbank robberies, and a drunk-driving tragedy in Wedgwood.  The open-airdrug dealing on “the Ave” (University Way NE) between 45th and 50th Streets seems to continue with impunity. With over 1,300 sworn officers and expenses of nearly $300 million per year, our Police Department is the largest General Fund department in the city. With the Police Department under a consent decree from the U.S. Justice Department, the brave men and women in uniform and residents in all neighborhoods yearn for effective leadership for the Police Department. Therefore, new Mayor Ed Murray’s upcoming SELECTION OF A NEW POLICE CHIEF will be one of the most important decisions in 2014. City Council “set the table” to attract world-class candidates by providing funds to conduct a robust search for the best candidates and for a police deployment study the new Chief can use. The Council also provided flexibility through arevised city ordinance to enable a new Chief to hire assistant chiefs from outside the Department. As part of the selection process, the Mayor is holding community forums. If you were not able to attend  Tues, Jan 28 at 6 p.m. at University Heights Center in the U-District, attend Tues, Feb 4 at 6 p.m. at Pinehurst K-8 school in Lake City. The Mayor’sCommunity Advisory Committee meetings are also open to the public. If you want totake action to reduce crime in your neighborhood, call the Crime Prevention Coordinator for our North Precinct – once the Police Dept finally refills that important position in February.

1 Fun to Enjoy

Our Libraries

Curl up with a book or surf the internet while exploring the many LIBRARIES in our Northeast neighborhoods, including Greenlake,Lake CityU-DistrictWallingford andWedgwood / Bryant. On Saturday, Feb 8 at 11:00 a.m. the City Librarian Marcellus Turner will visit our Wedgwood/Bryant (“Northeast“) branch (with its renovated kids section) for story time and to update neighbors on the current library levy.  With state law currently prohibiting a progressive income tax and limiting other tax increases, city policymakers often resort to increasing property taxes (levies) through a public vote. Even renters pay for property tax levies when landlords are able to raise market rents high enough to pass through the cost. In August 2012, 64% of voters approved a property tax increasefor Seattle libraries. Unlike many levies which tend to fund construction projects,this levy funds ongoing employee salaries. What’s going to happen in 2020 to those positions? As city revenues from other sources start to increase with an improving economy, the question should arise, “Why not use regular General Fund revenues rather than propose levies to maintain existing essential services?”  Bottom-line: enjoy the libraries now because you are paying for them. The Northeast branch is located at 6801 35th Ave. N.E. and open 7 days a week starting at 10:00 a.m.  (except Sundays 1-5 p.m.)  Find the library closest to you at this website.  If harsh winter weather prevents a journey to the library, you can “Chat with a Librarian” in Seattle or from around the country to get help finding information.  And kids love to watch this videoshowing our Seattle library breaking the world record for a “book domino chain” with 2,131 books.

1 Store to Adore

Shultzy’s

Hungry for ahearty meal that includes a Sausage of the Month, sweet potato fries, and a sampling of local craft and German beers, just a few steps from two unique bookstores and our world-class university? Then head toSHULTZY’S in the U-District.  Grab a cozy booth and chat with owners Don and Susan Schulze. Located at 4114 University Way NE (on “the Ave” at NE 41st Street),  just a block from Magus Books and 2 blocks from theUniversity BookstoreShultzy’s is open 7 days a week from 11:30 a.m. to at least midnight.  As with Scarecrow Videofeatured in last month’s 4 to Explore e-newsletter, Shultzy’s is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Shultzy’s and many nearby businesses participate in the U-District Partnership which, along with many neighborhood organizations, will have a larger role as 7 of the 9 City Councilmembers will soon be elected by neighborhoods rather than “at large.”  The city government should listen carefully to small neighborhood businesses likeShultzy’s when deciding how to reduce neighborhood crime, build new light rail stations, and address minimum wages. Through the Business Improvement Area (BIA), many U-District businesses already pay extra assessments to hire additional cleaning and security services that benefit the neighborhood. Seattle is a city of neighborhoods and locally owned restaurants and retailers likeShultzy’s define much of the neighborhood character that we adore.

1 Issue to Engage

Preschools or Prisons

About 25% of 3rd graders in our public schools can’t read at grade level – an early warning that they might not graduate. If we invest in our city’s children earlier, can we change this gloomy reality? Yes! Several studies show that children who attend high-quality PRESCHOOLS not only enjoy better graduation rates and less trouble with law enforcement, but also lead healthier, more prosperous lives. Some put it starkly: invest in preschools or prisons. After Dr. Steven Barnett and other experts presented extensive evidence, the City Council took action in Sept 2013 by adopting Resolution 31478. The Resolution seeks to make voluntary, high-quality preschool available and affordable to all of Seattle’s children and details a plan to get it done. In Nov, the Council added $650,000 to jump-start the plan and to expand professional development for preschool providers. Council PresidentTim Burgess (find him in photo) invitedtwo more national experts to present on Feb 3, 2014 new evidence of preschool’s benefits, which includes saving $5 for every $1 invested. On Feb 5, the Council will review a Gap Analysis to assess how many children in Seattle could benefit from high-quality preschool. The Seattle Times said, “Preschool for all of Seattle’s 3-and 4-year-olds is one of the most promising ideas to emerge from the Seattle City Council.”  If we do universal, high-quality preschool right, all of Seattle’s children will have the opportunity to flourish and we will have a safer city, a smarter workforce, and a brighter future.

Get our free "4 to Explore" newsletter delivered to your inbox every month. Click Here to Subscribe