Guest Blog Post–Catching up with our Neighborhoods

Our new legislative assistant, Alberta Bleck, attended the Magnolia Queen Anne District Council meeting on January 13 in Bayview Manor. Below are her thoughts from the program. Alberta will be contributing on a semi-regular basis as a guest blogger for the Bagshaw office. If there are any other topics you would like to see covered on this blog, let us know!

On Monday, January 13 I had the pleasure of attending the monthly Magnolia Queen Anne District Council. The meeting was well organized and inclusive, and I was inspired by the civil and constructive tone taken by all participants. The meeting, ably chaired by Lauren Balter, touched upon several important topics affecting the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods, as well as the city as a whole. A good portion of the meeting was devoted to a presentation on the Parks Legacy Plan and proposed Metropolitan Parks District (MPD), a topic that has been on our minds for the past several weeks.

Parks Legacy Plan Discussion

Deputy Superintendent of Parks Eric Friedli and Former Parks Deputy Superintendent Ken Bounds provided the group some background on the Parks Department’s financial shortfalls, which lie in the areas of operations and management. Funding cuts to parks in the General Fund, and well as the lack of levy money allocated to addressing operations has left Seattle’s parks with a 267 million dollar deferred maintenance backlog. Several ideas have been put forward on how to address this alarming gap. Eric and Ken focused on the concept of a Metropolitan Parks District (MPD) which has the advantage of providing a stable source of parks funding, something that has not been achieved with the short-term levies that have funded parks in the past. Additionally, while levies have limits on how much they can raise in revenue, the MPD inter-local agreement would have the potential to raise up to 54 million dollars for parks in the future (75 cents per $1,000 assessed).


Don Harper, the Queen Anne Community Council Parks Committee Chair, then presented several objections to the MPD. Don’s argument against the inter-local agreement rested on the issue of accountability. While short-term levies are approved directly by voters, the City Council would determine future funding levels for parks. Citizens would be one step removed from funding decisions, and would only be able to express their approval every four years when they voted for their City Council representatives. Another point raised was that the passage of district elections may have significant effects on the City Council going forward. Several people expressed the opinion that the MPD should be delayed until the effects of the new district system were more fully understood.

This is a hot topic that both the Parks Legacy Citizens’ Advisory Committee (PLCAC) and my colleagues and I will debate in our discussions about a possible ballot measure funding Seattle’s parks.  It was great to see a detailed and nuanced conversation about this complex topic between leaders of the charge and concerned citizens at this early stage.

The first meeting of 2014 Select Committee on Parks Funding will be held on Monday, January 27, at 2:30 p.m. or after Full Council. Check out the agenda here:

Safeguarding Seattle’s vibrant parks system is an issue that the Bagshaw office is deeply committed to. We welcome input from anyone interested, and encourage you to get in touch by email ( or by phone, (206) 684-8801.



SPUN: January 14th Committee Wrap-up

The Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods (SPUN, like spoon) Committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, January 14th. Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Councilmember Kshama Sawant and I were at the table for two Directors’ reports, from the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), and two presentations, a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Program Update and the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan (UFSP). Check out the agenda here.

DON Director’s Report

I’ve worked with DON for the past two years on the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee and I’m excited to continue that work on its core projects. The Historic Preservation program is new to me, however. The program designates and protects historic structures, sites, objects, vessels, and eight historic districts. Read more about DON’s core projects by following the links below.

SPU Director’s Report

SPU has four lines of business: Water, Drainage and Wastewater, Solid Waste (including garbage and organics collection), and customer service and internal management. We discussed several issues that reflect SPU’s broad responsibilities. Use the links below to read about some of the issues that may come before SPUN in 2014.

GSI Program Update

GSI projects clean, slow, and/or reduce the volume of runoff rainwater into Seattle’s drainage systems. A high volume of rainwater can result in flooding and sewer back-ups or overflows; and polluted runoff water damages creeks, lakes, and Puget Sound. Bio-retention (like rain gardens); the use of permeable/porous pavement; green roofs; and rainwater cisterns are examples of GSI.

Last July the City Council passed Resolution 31459 adopting the use of GSI to manage storm water wherever possible and requesting that city departments collaborate with the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) to create implementation strategies for meeting new storm water targets. The GSI team is developing manuals that discuss capital improvement project (CIP) procedural expectations, for both technical design and community engagement. Here’s a partial list of current GSI projects:


One more example of GSI: a healthy urban tree canopy! The 2013 USFP goals are to create an ethic of stewardship; expand canopy cover to 30% by 2037; and increase the health and longevity of urban forests through the removal of invasive species and the increase of species diversity. Lofty goals to be sure!

In 2014 OSE will focus on updating regulations that protect both private and street trees; expanding outreach through the Tree Ambassador Program; and continuing its management of public trees through the restoration of forested parklands and an evaluation of the effectiveness of tree planting policies. Read up on Seattle trees here.

I learned a lot during the first SPUN! I’m excited to learn more on January 28th at 2:00 p.m. Please join us!




Looking forward

On Monday, January 6th, 2014 I had the great pleasure of beginning my second term representing you as a Seattle City Councilmember. I wanted to say a few words about some of what I want to accomplish for you over the next few years.

First, a healthy, clean and vibrant city, both in our downtown and in our neighborhoods where everyone feels safe and welcome. I have already begun to work with leaders of our Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion team, human service providers, and public and private stakeholders to create a network that offers help to people who are on our streets, rather than penalizing them for being poor or sick or addicted

Second, I will continue work with my colleagues at King County and across the state for a smart state wide transportation package.  If necessary, we will bring a separate measure to the local voters next spring to maintain and enhance Metro Transit service.  We cannot run a growing city without growing transit.

Third, we will enhance neighborhoods across the city to jointly fund sidewalks, and create a network of Neighborhood Greenways for all ages and abilities

Fourth, we will continue to support our fabulous parks system by adequately maintaining our 6000 acres of parks, urban forests, ball parks, community centers and more. This year voters may have the opportunity to address that deferred maintenance backlog.  For me, this is a major social justice issue: free access to parks and excellent programming for all.

Bringing people together for the common good is my North Star.   For me, this approach to politics is more than hope or just sweet words; it’s how I choose to live my life.  

I look forward to working with all of you in 2014 and beyond!

 Many thanks,