The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is inviting South Seattle residents to help improve safety along Rainier Avenue South. Responding to concerns raised by residents and local community councils, the SDOT is launching a collaborative process to review conditions along the roadway in November 2014.
You can join SDOT at two public meetings to review data and share your experiences on Rainier with their project team and help determine the future of the corridor.
Wednesday, NOVEMBER 12
6 PM to 8 PM, The Columbia School – Cafeteria/Commons,
3528 S. Ferdinand St (use the Edmunds St entrance)
Tuesday , NOVEMBER 18
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM, The Ethiopian Community Center,
In the August 2014 primary, roughly 29% of registered voters in our legislative district actually voted. It troubles me that a majority of people — especially registered voters — apparently have no motivation to vote.
As an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana, I’m only the second generation with the right to vote. In 1924, Native peoples were granted citizenship, but in many states — including Washington — keeping Native people from voting persisted. Barriers to voting included: culture tests, unreachable polling places, and registrars unwilling to accept voter registration of Native peoples. In our state, the phrase “Indians not taxed,” in Article 1 of the Constitution, justified the exclusion of Native peoples from voting until the Supreme Court ruled that all Native people could vote, in 1948.
When we don’t appreciate the power of our vote, the history of voting, and the impact voting has on real people and neighbors in our community, only 29% of us turn out to vote.
Motivations for voting can be as simple as it’s a basic right or our civic duty, but voting also affirms our own humanity. My motivations for voting are to acknowledge the long struggle those before me endured to achieve the right to vote.
The internment of nearly 150,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry stripped thousands of U.S. citizens of their civil and voting rights until 1946. The women’s suffrage movement began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 and took nearly 70 years to secure the right to vote, nationally. Black men, granted suffrage after Congress passed the fifteenth amendment in 1869, were limited by Jim Crow laws until President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law. That legislation broke barriers to political participation for all people of color. These examples illustrate the many ways some people derive motivation to vote as a recognition of history; where we’ve been and how far we’ve come to participate in our democracy.
While voting’s impact may not be immediately obvious, voting now for a community that supports the opportunity and potential of all, acknowledges our interconnectedness. A local election — with gun responsibility initiatives, universal pre-k propositions and local candidates — has profound, tangible impacts at a level that we can all feel.
This fall, Seattle voters can vote between two pre-K propositions. We heard from both prop 1A and prop 1B at a recent Capitol Hill Community Council meeting. The data behind early learning suggests that quality early learning programs lower rates of involvement in juvenile crime and contribute to higher test scores and graduation rates.
Voting — from the motivation behind it, the way it connects us to our past and future, and its impact on our neighbors, friends, family, and ourselves — meaningfully nurtures our community. If we want policies of opportunity for our community and the leaders who can make them happen, we must cast our votes for the future we want to create and commit to investing in a neighborhood, a city, and a community we can be proud of for the next 5, 25, or 40 years.
While you consider the issues and candidates on this year’s ballot, I invite you to recall the first time you were curious about voting. Pondering this year’s ballot, I remember a cool evening during my childhood, when squeezed tightly into the flimsy voting booth, my mom closed the shabby blue curtain behind my sister and me and punched holes into her paper ballot. She glanced over at me – my eyes full of intrigue – and asked, “You want to give it a try?” I’ve given it a try ever since, hoping my vote will make a lasting difference.
Zachery Pullin is the Vice President of the Capitol Hill Community Council
It all started with a bang and ended with a crash.
It began at 4:00 on Friday night; by 5:30, more than one thousand Rainier Valley residents decked out in full Halloween regalia (Iron Man and Elsa from Frozen costumes to name but a few) had descended upon the eastern portion of Rainier Beach Safeway’s parking lot last Friday for the inaugural Rainier Beach Boo Bash.
The Bash was conceived by Rainier View resident Cindi Laws in response to the 165% increase in gun violence within the Rainier Valley during the past year. “We had a couple of blocks-long shooting sprees in Rainier Beach,” said Laws. “Businesses were shot up. Scores of drive bys. More than a dozen dead. Schools in repeated lockdowns. What does that do to kids? To families? To communities?” she asked.
“Safeway managers were also concerned, and wanted to be a part of a solution, wanted to demonstrate its commitment to our community,” Laws continued. “So we came up with this big idea of creating a Halloween event to provide a safe environment for kids to trick or treat through booths sponsored by local merchants, community groups and city departments.”
Boo Bash at the Beach was also established to draw some positive attention to an area that continues to suffer from the negative public image of crime and violence. The Federal Department of Justice in 2012 identified five locations in Rainier Beach as crime hotspots, and provided nearly a million dollars in funding to change the statistics. After nearly a dozen deaths in spring and early summer, several “Find It/Fix It” walks were scheduled for Mayor Ed Murray to show he cared about Rainier Beach. The mayor, however, was not present at the wonderfully positive Boo Bash.
“This is absolutely fantastic!” exclaimed Jazmine Sampson, who brought her children Jaziah (4) and Lilliana (2) to participate in the Bash. “I thought about taking them out trick-or-treating but I was wary of that because you never know about people these days, unfortunately. But here they can interact with other kids from around the community, and I can connect with my neighbors. I can’t believe all the people here! Kids in the southend complain all the time that there is nothing to do around here, and that often leads to them getting into trouble. We need constant events like this.”
Sampson’s opinion seemed the consensus amongst parents in attendance that were appreciative to see an event thrown in the community that actually diffused many anxieties about safety and provided a ready-made local activity on Halloween night.
“I honestly didn’t know what to do tonight. I wasn’t sure how long I would let my kids be out and how safe it would be as I was only going to allow them to walk to a few houses in either direction of mine while I stood out on the porch, which wouldn’t have been too fun for them. This really solves everything for me,” said Katrina Young, who brought her two daughters along with her.
“I’m sure people heard Rainier Beach Boo Bash and immediately associated that with Halloween in the Hood or some nonsense – meaning that there would be shooting, fighting or what have you,” expressed John Aaron, who has no children of his own but came to enjoy the festivities nonetheless. “Look at all the people here, young, old, black, white, yellow. Everyone is just having a good time. It flies in the face of what most people think about us out here.”
Boo Bash featured live music, Halloween-themed games and nearly thirty trick-or-treat booths carpeted Safeway’s parking lot-treating young ghouls and goblins to so much candy that South Seattle dentists’ jobs are now officially recession proof. Indeed, Boo Bash was free of the violence that some detractors intimated the event would invariably invite.
The only scare that threatened to derail the community celebration was a horrific multi-car wreck involving fifteen cars and a Metro bus, injuring ten people. Rainier Avenue was closed around 5:30 pm, just a few dozen yards from Boo Bash.
With a helicopter overhead, local news outlets exhorted residents to stay completely clear of the area. “Had the media not frightened people away, attendance would easily top 2000 people,” said Laws.
With the success of the event by both quantitative and qualitative measure — the Boo Bash Facebook page continues to be swamped with effusive praise from supremely grateful parents — it is a bit mind boggling that its planning and promotion came about in such a short time.
“We had the will, and we had to find a way to pull this off. ‘No’ was not an option,” said Laws, who had been a long time West Seattle community leader before moving to the Rainier View neighborhood in 2004. “There were many skeptics. It should not be so hard to promote an event that is for children, and it certainly shouldn’t be so challenging to convince some to fund this type of a community festival.”
“Boo Bash was a phenomenal success!” said Laws. “Thanks to our amazing community partners, especially the remarkable people of Safeway; Seattle City Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Sally Clark, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Maia Segura, Patrice Thomas, Jenny Frankl, Jennifer Samuels, Sally Bailey, Dan Sanchez, Yalonda Gill Masundire, Mark Briant, Jeremi Oliver, Martha Winther, David Della, and Dick Falkenbury; the amazing folks at the Seattle Police Department’s South Precinct and mounted patrol unit; entertainers Michael Cagle, Omar Jackson, and Ryan Hazy; all the incredible people of Seattle Parks, City Light, Seattle Tilth, the Department of Neighborhoods, McDonald’s, Vulcan NW, Waste Management, Burien Staples Copy Center, Boruck Printing, Sound Transit, the Seattle Fire Department, Rainier Beach Merchants Association, Rainier Valley Chamber, Rainier Beach Community Club, Othello Park Alliance, All-Inclusive Boy Scouts, Rainier Vista Smilow Boys & Girls Club and so many others!”
“People of all stripes, colors and creeds are begging for another big event,” concluded Laws. “We really showed what can be accomplished in Rainier Beach if people just come together and quit worrying about turf and credit. It is about the kids, about safety, about fun, about community. And it was incredibly successful. With the generous support of an amazing corporate partnership with Safeway, we all did this together, and we will all do it again.”
The senseless shooting of a Black teen in the Midwest rightfully outraged us. Locally and nationally, conferences were organized, famous leaders mobilized. Water cooler conversations were even had on the disproportionate slaying of young Black lives. But when a Native American teen in the Pacific Northwest, one hour north of Seattle shot five of his friends and relatives and then shot himself, Seattle and the rest of the nation fell silent.
A fallen youth of color in America (no matter how they die) connects to the violent sins committed against marginalized groups in this country. The history of First Nation tribes and Indigenous people, including the Tulalip Tribes, is a history too easily forgotten and inconveniently ignored. Cities and valleys, like Snoqualmie, Puyallup, and Yakima in Washington State, reflect the longstanding history of Native tribes. Long before Christopher Columbus’ conquest and the arrival of English immigrants, Indigenous people were the original rulers of this land. When we questioned the violent actions of Jaylen Fryberg, did we also stop to consider the genocide committed against Native American people? It took a phone call form a concerned friend in Los Angeles, a poem, and the cry of an Indigenous woman to awaken my spirit.
Violence has become too commonplace—the history of Indigenous people far removed. The Tulalip Tribes released a statement this week (http://www.tulaliptribes-nsn.gov/) stating that they did not condone Fryberg’s actions. It was the teen’s “individual action” not a reflection of his community or the tribes. But as someone who works and loves the youth, the shooting hits home. When will the violence stop? Why do we keep failing our youth?
Seattle we must do better. The deaths at Marysville Pilchuck High School must spring us to action. Violence continues to claim young lives while many of us sit on the sidelines, while youth kill themselves, kill their peers, and are slain by adults. Just as Michael Brown’s murder stirred the nation, so too must the tragedy of Jaylen Fryberg’s death. A life is not more valuable than another life. But the death of youth anywhere is a clamorous reminder.
So we must respond. Pour our love into youth, and affirm their voices. Then we must listen to their cry, and work to improve an education system that falls short. Our laws, our voting, our time and our money must be invested on the lives of youth, and in particular youth of color.
We must continue to invest in local program here in South Seattle that connect youth of color to their own histories and equip them to undo institutional racism like the Tyree Scott Freedom School. We must further their critical thinking skills, and arm them with developmentally appropriate social justice language as early as possible like the Urban Impact Freedom Schools. Finally, we must stand with the Tulalip community, in solidarity; grieving with the mothers who lost their babies, and inwardly reflecting on what we can do to invest in our children.
drea chicas is a community organizer who lives, works and plays in South Seattle
Rainier Health & Fitness member Nancy Shore was hesitant to try Group Training due to back pain, but within a year of working out three times weekly, she experienced both a stronger back and more energy. Recapping the transformation, Nancy wrote:
“I remember telling Patrick that I thought Group Training would be a bad idea due to back pain. Patrick told me that the Group Training would help my back and even promised me I’d gain the strength and form needed to pick up my son. I gave it a try and realized that Group Training would help me move beyond doing just cardio on the elliptical. The trainers are amazing at working with you and modifying the exercises as needed. My son is now five and over 50 pounds and I can still give him uppies. The Group Training classes have been amazing—my back is definitely better and the trainers and other gym members in the class always motivate me. I am definitely stronger than I’ve ever been and find that starting my day off with Group Training energizes me and helps me focus throughout my workday.”
Members like Nancy are exactly who the trainers have designed Group Training to impact. As a program of a non-profit in the Rainier Valley, Rainier Health & Fitness has attracted many residents who never before stepped inside a gym. Consequently, the staff found that a number of these newcomers are intimidated by weights and large equipment so stick to treadmills and ellipticals rather than pushing themselves to a total body workout.
To expand members’ fitness routines at a reasonable cost, the trainers implemented a program called Group Training. These workouts enable participants to vary their exercise routine, receive a total body workout and get guidance from a certified trainer…plus get to know a few of their neighbors in the process! Most importantly, the program encompasses three of RHF’s core values:
Motivating members to take control of their preventative health
Making high-quality fitness affordable and accessible.
Group Training is the type of service people would otherwise only get through Personal Training or CrossFit. And although RHF offers both Personal Training and CrossFit at rates greatly reduced from their competitors, many members still cannot afford these services. Group Training fills the gap. Compared to most gyms where a single session with a trainer costs upwards of $40/hour, Group Training gives members unlimited access to workouts guided by a certified trainer for just $30 per month (that breaks down to approximately $3/session for members who come at least 10 times in the month. Training is offered six days a week nearly every hour so if utilized more, the cost decreases even further).
Capping classes at a maximum of 6 people, trainers are able to offer more personalized feedback in Group Training than in larger CrossFit classes. Meanwhile, workouts offer varying routines so no two days are exactly alike. Sometimes members do circuits and other times a set number of reps. Unlike CrossFit, however, Group Training does not involve heavy lifting but follows the NASM Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) Model focusing primarily on functional movements.
“We meet you where you are at based on your physical exercise capabilities and work on improving your capacity to perform functional and physical work,” says RHF trainer Patrick Otieno “For example, tasks requiring you to lift loads or move furniture without experiencing back pain.”
Although each session varies, Group Training breakdowns to essentially 5 phases:
Warm up on a treadmill, rower, bike, elliptical or other cardio of choice (5-10 minutes)
Stretch with a trainer (5 minutes)
Core and corrective training (15-20 minutes)
Circuit or muscle specific workout (20-25 minutes)
Cool down (5 minutes)
One of the best aspects of Group Training is that it makes fitness fun. “Group training is fun and holds them accountable to coming to the gym,” said trainer Mike Nienaber. “There’s always variety, whether the instructor differs or the workout.”
Group Training isn’t for everyone. But for people who are new to fitness, who want to vary their workout without getting injured or who desire to connect to the local community, this program is perfect. As Nancy said, “I also think the group training classes are very supportive and a lot of fun. I believe a strong sense of community forms through participating in these classes.”
Emily Williamson is RHF’s marketing coordinator. Her own experience of suffering a back injury and recovering through exercises prescribed by a chiropractor who doubles as a cross-fit instructor gave her a passion for helping others experience life fully through fitness.
October, 24th Seattle- “Let us fight together, we will win” – Fatimah, a resident from Yesler Terrace called out on the microphone at Friday before last’s rally in opposition to the Seattle Housing Authority’s (SHA) Stepping Forward proposal- one that would affect many South Seattle residents. The protests have reached the epicenter of bureaucratic engagement, City Hall.
On the 4th Ave terrace, there were almost as many signs as there were people. The mostly adult crowd included residents and activists amongst the few trees and stone tiles that approached the seemingly never ending steps that led to the council chambers.
At the rally residents had the opportunity to share their mounting concerns about “Stepping Forward,” including their anxieties over potential evictions that could ensue if the measure was enacted, the struggle to afford rent at its current rate, language barriers that hamper communication with city officials, as well as doubts about any additional assistance the proposal will provide to low income households.
Over the course of the past two months the SHA has held five Stepping Forward Open Houses across the city, including some at current and former public housing projects, such as Yesler Terrace, New Holly, High Point, in addition to the Rainier and Meadowbrook Community Centers.
At the Stepping Forward Open House that took place at the New Holly Gathering Hall- City Councilmember Kshama Sawant joined community members in organizing counter actions to what they feel is an SHA “public relations” tour.
During the High Point Open House, they successfully led a walkout were a large majority of individuals in attendance made a show of leaving the SHA meeting to occupy the community center’s gym- which had been reserved in advance.
A huge turnout of residents was also seen at the Yesler Open House, all with questions they felt the SHA has yet to address in regards to ensuring that the proposal created and maintained affordable housing in the Seattle area.
In response to an evaluation of the efficacy of the current subsidized housing system, SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton drafted a new proposal that would affect 35 percent of households supported by the Housing Authority. The Stepping Forward Proposal would impact households receiving Housing Choice vouchers (Section 8) who have at least one “workable” adult.
While the proposal would potentially increase rents up to 400 percent over a 6 year period, in turn the SHA would provide additional employment and education assistance to help “workable” adults find sustainable employment.
“Workable” adults are considered to be anyone in a household between the ages of 24-61 who do not identify as having a disability that prevents them from finding employment. Should households be unable to pay the increasing rent then the Housing Authority will have the right to pursue evictions. Households with no “workable” adults will continue to pay income-based rent.
The current policy requires households to pay 30 percent of their income in rent with no fixed yearly increase. SHA has assessed that the resources currently available to households has not proved sufficient.
With the suggested proposal, SHA would also increase services available to tenants and households by providing more resources to obtaining financial success. All “workable” adults will have a workforce assessment plan managed by the SHA staff.
Considering that the SHA identified a lack of support and connection to resources as a crucial issue that exists with the current subsidized housing system, this plan would suggest increased staffing support and overall redetermination of the way in which SHA has been structured to provide support to households and tenants, and investments in city wide partnerships.
The amount of community feedback and protest has caused the Mayor and City council to take notice and question whether or not the needs of the communities in peril are being addressed in an equitable and responsible way. The entire City Council sent a letter to Andrew Lofton, in opposition to the Stepping forward proposal earlier this month.
Some of the demands that residents and tenant activists want SHA to consider:
-Rejection of the SHA Stepping Forward Proposal
-Tenant activist to be appointed to the Mayor’s Committee on Housing Affordability
-The construction of more affordable housing for low income families
-Tenant representation in the SHA board appointment process
Serving as SHA’s Executive Director since 2012, Lofton also sits on Mayor Ed Murray’s newly minted Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee. In early September Mayor Murray issued a formal Housing Affordability Statement in which he expressed that “many of Seattle’s low-and middle-income workers families, artists, students, and immigrants new to our country are struggling to find homes at prices they can manage.”
SHA provides over 8,500 Housing Choice vouchers units, which allows low income families access to rent affordable and privately owned property. SHA also oversees approximately 6,000 public housing units, currently serving over 26,000 people combined. The Seattle Displacement Coalition reports that after the redevelopment of New Holly, Rainier Vista, Roxbury Village, and High Point, over 1000 public housing units have been lost as a result of the newer mixed income housing models. One can only guess that the redevelopment plan for Yesler Terrace housing project will displace some low income residents as well. This Phenomenon isn’t new, and as Jon Fox from the Seattle Displacement Coalition reported “They still think we are taking advantage of the system.”
Organizations that were present at the City Hall rally against the Stepping Forward Proposal included Socialist Alternative, The Tenant’s Union and Radical Women Seattle. This same contingent of protesters made a public address during the City Council business meeting directly following the rally, asking councilmembers to sign a petition in opposition to Stepping Forward. Only councilmembers Sawant and Mike O’Brien signed.
The contingent then took the petition to the Mayor’s office where they had the opportunity to speak openly with Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim. Though adults represented the majority of leadership at the rally, the presence of youth activists was hard to ignore.
“So many people that are great leaders in the community are teens. Let the youth voices be heard, let them speak up and have a voice,” Nimco
Abdirahman expressed over the microphone, as one of the few youth voices represented at the rally. As she addressed both the public and Deputy Mayor Kim, Nimco stated how important safe and affordable housing had been to her family. She also pointed out a potential shift in the distribution of resources that may have something to do with the redevelopment of public housing into mixed income communities.
Nimco spoke to the changing demographics of housing projects, and what this means as far as accessibility and equity within these restructured communities. She wants to illuminate awareness around the idea that there is money out there, but where it is- and why the system seems to continuously withhold options from low income residents in South Seattle- is a question all should be asking.
“No one in this community knows about scholarships,” she mentioned, recalling her own story of learning through a serendipitous occasion about the scholarships offered to youth living in the High Point community. Self-identifying as someone who has grown up in the system, she speaks to the changes seen in access and the equity of knowledge as some of the invisible barriers manifest in what was once a community serving only low income families, but now provides mixed income residents. Only certain people know about the scholarships, and for some reason, word hasn’t gotten around. Nimco expressed that once she found out, she told her mother that my little brother could be eligible for a scholarship and her family started telling others in the community that these scholarships were available so that some of the youth and families would know. Nimco envisions the creation of a youth council to advocate for youth and families in the community, as well as families. She already serves on the High Point Council and she is the youngest member by over ten years.
To help sustain attention around the issue, Radical Women of Seattle held a forum at New Freeway Hall in Columbia City the day after the rally that consisted of community members, SHA staff, a former SHA commissioner, and residents from both New Holly and Yesler Terrace.
“We need to stop destroying what’s left of the affordable housing in this city, which is getting destroyed rapidly as neighborhoods gentrify, as buildings get sold to developers, as things like stepping forward goes and takes things that are currently affordable and turns them into transitional housing,” expressed Ted Virdone, Legislative Assistant to Councilmember Sawant.
Back home after a season altering win at Carolina, the Hawks face the only remaining winless team in the NFL in the Oakland Raiders. Most expect a walk over as the Raiders have struggled to even be competitive in most games this year, but they present some challenges to a Seahawks team still searching for an identity and consistent play in 2014.
Oakland boasts a defense that has some playmakers, especially 1st round draft pick Kalil Mack who looks to be the best defensive player coming into the league this year. Oakland has done surprisingly well containing the run game of opponents recently, and tends to get exposed when stretched vertically or spread out exposing their lack of depth in the secondary. Oakland has also struggled mightily, creating few turnovers and giving the ball up, consistently placing their defense in difficult situations week after week.
On offense Oakland had done a tremendous job protecting their rookie quarterback in Derek Carr who has looked extremely competent during his rookie season. Carr has kept his interception numbers in check, but has struggled with fumbles as have the Oakland running backs who have found yards hard to come by with the weakest running attack in the NFL this year. Their inability to run the ball is also compounded by the fact they are constantly playing from behind and are usually trying to throw themselves back into ballgames.
The Raiders have not given up on their season yet with a new interim coach and a proud group of veterans to accompany good young talent on both sides of the line. The Seahawks getting off to a fast start will be a key to owning this game early and not letting the light shine on Oakland and provide hope of the upset. Expect the offense to run more consistently through Marshawn in this game with him getting 20+ carries and finally cracking the 100 yard mark. Russell should have a strong game manager type of game completing 75% of his passes for 200 yards and adding 30-40 on the ground. This Oakland team showed Seattle they aren’t afraid of their defense in the last preseason game this year getting off to a 21 nothing lead early and cruising to a 41-31 victory in Oakland, but this isn’t the preseason, and the overconfidence has been sucked out of this group of Seahawks. I expect they take this game seriously and start to create the turnovers that have been so few and far between this season. Injuries are taking their toll on every team at this point in the season, and the Seahawks are no different, but reclaiming their identity on the ground starts this week in a resounding way.
Final game prediction: Seahawks 30 Oakland 13
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