VIDEO: West Seattle Lights back, big and bright, for 7th season

November 27, 2015 at 8:39 pm | In West Seattle Christmas lights, West Seattle news | No Comments

West Seattle Lights, aka the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, is back! Tonight’s the second night of the seventh season for the music-synched light show at 3908 SW Charlestown, right across the street from the water tower. For the best view, stand on the walkway around the tower:

Or, you can admire the lights and music up close:

(If you’re in a car, you can listen to the soundtrack at 101.9 FM.) It’s not just entertainment – it’s also a benefit for nonprofits – bring a nonperishable food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and drop it in the bin right in front of the house, and/or donate to WSFB and the NW Parkinson’s Foundation by going here. Your host, Sir Charles the snowman, will thank you:

(And so will light-show creator Jim Winder, who now runs one in Maple Valley as well as this one in West Seattle, as you’ll see on the website.) The show continues nightly through New Year’s – find nightly schedules and other info by going here.

West Seattle Christmas tree season: Holy Rosary lot now open

November 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm | In Holidays, How to help, West Seattle news | No Comments

Though a few places in West Seattle had trees before Thanksgiving, today is the traditional start of Christmas tree season, and so it was opening day for the Holy Rosary School Tree Lot (rejoining the WSB sponsor team for the occasion). It’s just north of the school, with entrances off 42nd or 41st north of Genesee.

Tree types include Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Frasier Fir, Grand Fir, and Norway Spruce (:15 guide in our Instagram clip), with prices starting at $25. Again this year, part of the proceeds go to local charities. Other greenery available, including wreaths.

The hours are on the official HR Tree Lot website; it’s staffed by cheery volunteers, including Geraldine, who showed us the lot’s official Christmas tree costume:

The lot will be open through December 13th, 9 am-9 pm weekends, 2-8 pm Mondays-Thursdays, 2-9 pm Fridays. If you’re not ready to buy a tree yet, just remember that whenever you are, this lot and others we’ve spotted around West Seattle are listed in the WSB Holiday Guide.

VIDEO: West Seattle High School, Salty’s in 2015 Holiday Parade

November 27, 2015 at 3:33 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

The marching bands in this morning’s Macy’s Holiday Parade downtown included one local school this year, West Seattle High School. Above is our video, recorded as they made the final turn at 4th and University. We didn’t catch the banner but Nicole e-mailed this photo:

One week from tomorrow – on Saturday night, December 5th – you’ll see and hear the WSHS Marching Band as opening act for the West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting (Junction Plaza Park, NW corner of 42nd and Alaska, with a street closure providing more room this year!). Back to today’s parade – right in front of the Wildcats were the Nutcrackers from Salty’s (WSB sponsor):

As featured in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, Salty’s has Santa visiting for brunch the next three weekends, plus Christmas Eve.

HAPPENING NOW: Native Holiday Gift Fair @ Duwamish Longhouse

November 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | 2 Comments

(WSB photos)
Potential gifts you won’t find anywhere else await you right now at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse in West Seattle; it’s Day 1 of the three-day Native Holiday Gift Fair. Above, Vashon Island-based Shotridge Studios‘ offerings include laptop sleeves and phone cases by Tlingit master carver/artist Israel Shotridge; below, artist Margie Morris is at work during the fair, adding designs to drums:

While you’re there, get your copy(ies) of the West Seattle Wildlife Calendar, with photos by Mark Wangerin (you’ve seen his wondrous bird photos here on WSB). It’s a benefit for Chief Sealth International High School environmental programs, and students are helping sell them – Elaine was on duty when we stopped by:

No admission charge at the Longhouse, which is also a cultural center, but if you want to support the tribe’s fight for federal recognition, “Stand With The Duwamish Tribe” T-shirts are being sold too:

You can also buy snacks/lunch while there. The fair continues until 4 pm today, 10 am-4 pm tomorrow and Sunday, at 4705 W. Marginal Way SW (turn into the parking lot from the west side

BIZNOTE: Happy 4th anniversary, Thunder Road Guitars!

November 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Many reasons to shop The Junction for Black Friday/Shop Small Saturday – including the 4th anniversary celebration deals at Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor)! In our photo, that’s TRG proprietor Frank Gross, who started his business online, then after about a year moved into a California Avenue storefront between the Admiral and Alaska Junctions, and then five months ago took over an even-bigger storefront in The Junction, at 4736 California SW, where you’ll find TRG today. Today, tomorrow, and Sunday, you’ll find these specials at Thunder Road:

*15% off all guitars and amplifiers in stock

*Free shipping in the US

*Beginner acoustic guitars starting at $199

*15% off all new pedals

Stop in to wish Frank and crew Happy Anniversary! They’re open until 6 today, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, and 11 am-4 pm Sunday.

West Seattle whales: Orcas reported southbound from Alki

November 27, 2015 at 9:40 am | In West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Thanks to Jeff Hogan from Killer Whale Tales for the report: Orcas passing Alki, headed southbound. Let us know if you see them!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Post-Thanksgiving Friday info

November 27, 2015 at 7:58 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | No Comments

(Six WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Two transit reminders for today:
-No Water Taxi
-Metro is on a “reduced weekday/no UW” schedule

If you’re going downtown today – remember the road closures for this morning’s parade and tonight’s tree/star lighting; here’s info from SDOT.

‘Black Friday,’ West Seattle style: No need to stand in lines or dash down aisles

November 26, 2015 at 11:00 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news | No Comments

The post-Thanksgiving calm is starting to settle … except for the corners of the holiday-shopping world where people are lining up for the start of “Black Friday.” Instead of mall-mania, West Seattle’s local independent retailers invite you to sleep in and see what they have to offer – tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, and beyond. You don’t even have to wait for “Shop Small Saturday” – make it “Shop Small Every Day.” The WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide has some previews of local shopping highlights if you scroll down the page; also new this year, the West Seattle Junction Association is offering some ideas in a three-part Gift Guide (here’s where to start). Another stop for your list tomorrow – it’s the first of three days for the annual Native Holiday Gift Fair at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse – hand-crafted creations you won’t find anywhere else. (WSB photo: Garland-decked Easy Street Records, one of the local indie businesses where you’ll find deals Friday)

UPDATE: Crash at 21st and Myrtle, driver in custody

November 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm | In West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 2 Comments

9:23 PM: You might have heard the sirens a little while ago – a big initial response for a crash at 21st SW and SW Myrtle. It was first called out as a “heavy rescue,” but it’s been scaled back. We don’t have details on the circumstances but are off to check.

9:54 PM: It was a one-car crash at the curve by Sanislo Elementary. The car went into the shrubs on the slope west of the corner, north of the stairs. The driver got himself out, police told us at the scene, and is unhurt, but is in custody, while they investigate the possibility of DUI.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Online records show a 34-year-old man was cited for being under the influence.

TOMORROW: Sealth, WSHS marching bands in downtown parade

November 26, 2015 at 5:08 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

IF you’re going downtown to see tomorrow morning’s Macy’s Holiday Parade – you’ll have locals to cheer for: The Chief Sealth International High School and West Seattle High School marching bands are both on the lineup, per their online schedules. The parade starts at 9 am and ends when Santa Claus goes by – the route is described in SDOT’s holiday-weekend alert. You can’t take the Water Taxi over since it’s not running on Friday, but you can take Metro, which will be on a “reduced weekday” schedule. (Anybody else from WS in the parade? Please comment, or message us, so we’ll all know to look for you!)

HAPPENING NOW: West Seattle Eagles’ 7th annual ‘Thanksgiving to Remember’ community dinner

November 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news | No Comments

Another group of West Seattleites putting the “giving” in Thanksgiving today – the West Seattle Eagles, serving their 7th annual “Thanksgiving to Remember” feast, free to all, until 5 pm. The first hour saw more than 60 people, they told us when we stopped by:

Among the Eagles and volunteers making everyone welcome are Armando Juarez, Christine Juarez, and Gatewood Elementary students Maddy and Ty:

The Eagles’ aerie is just south of the Junction post office, 4426 California SW.

PHOTOS: Thanksgiving dinner @ The Hall at Fauntleroy, year 17

November 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

For the 17th year, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering is serving its legendary complimentary community Thanksgiving dinner right now at The Hall at Fauntleroy, all welcome, until 3 pm. We dropped in to photograph some of the smiling faces of the people who are spending part of their holiday making it happen:

T&TSC proprietor David Haggerty (3rd from right, above) told us that within the first 35 minutes or so, they had already served 100 diners. (What does it take for this large-scale feast to happen? See our behind-the-scenes story from 2012.) As is also a tradition, a table in the hallway also was laden with warm clothing available to anyone who needed to take some home.

West Seattle Thanksgiving 2015: How the day began, beautifully

November 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm | In Seen around town, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Photo by John Bartell)
Thanks to everyone who shared photos of this Thanksgiving Day’s beautiful beginning. While the full moon was getting ready to set over the Olympic Mountains this morning, the sun was climbing up from behind the Cascades:

(Photo by Bryan Hendrickson)
As beautiful as Mount Rainier can be in sunrise glow, the Olympics had it beat this morning:

(Photo by David Hutchinson)

(Photo by John Hinkey)

(Photo by Chris Frankovich)
Thanks to everyone who contributes to this community-collaborative news service day in and day out … photos, news tips, calendar listings, lost-and-found pet reports, comments, Forum posts, and so much more … here’s how and where to reach us, any time.

West Seattle Thanksgiving 2015: What you need to know

November 26, 2015 at 6:03 am | In Holidays, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(One more view from Tuesday’s king tide/north wind – photo by Monica Zaborac)

Happy Thanksgiving! Again this year, we are thankful for YOU and this beautiful neighborhood we share. Here’s info you might find useful:


WHO’S OPEN FOR COFFEE: We heard from 7 coffee shops ready to serve you for at least part of today! See the Thanksgiving section atop our West Seattle Holiday Guide.

PRE-TURKEY WORKOUTS : Also in the first section of the Holiday Guide.

The Hall at Fauntleroy
, noon-3 pm (9131 California SW)
West Seattle Eagles, 2-5 pm (4426 California SW)
South Park Senior Center, 11 am-2 pm (8201 10th Ave. S.)
—-More in our preview and our Holiday Guide. And if you are looking for a way to be helpful today – dessert donations are accepted at The Hall starting at 10 am.

WHICH RESTAURANTS (AND BARS WITH FOOD) ARE OPEN TODAY AND/OR TONIGHT: Here’s the list (please note, it is a list only of who told us, when we called, that they planned to be open – always subject to last-minute change without notice to us, so please alert us if you find any discrepancies).

THANKSGIVING CHURCH SERVICES: 2 are listed in the Holiday Guide.

The Admiral Theater is open this afternoon/evening – see the movies/times here (2343 California SW) … The West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular music-synched light show starts tonight, lights on at 7 pm – bring food for the West Seattle Food Bank! (3908 SW Charlestown)

*Metro is on a Sunday schedule
*The Water Taxi is NOT running today or tomorrow
Sound Transit Route 560 is on a weekend schedule
Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run is on a normal schedule.

OTHER NOTES: No solid-waste pickup today … government offices, libraries, Parks-operated facilities are closed (except for golf courses including WS, closing “around 2 pm” per the city).

New arrival lands in South Seattle College Aviation Maintenance Tech program hangar

November 26, 2015 at 4:41 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

(WSB photos/video)
The Learjet that just arrived in the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Aviation Maintenance Tech program hangar is a big deal in multiple ways.

For one – this program is the first in the state to get a plane like this.

For two – it’s a plane worth about $620,000 (original value $3.1 million), obtained by SSC for $10,000 (plus various one-timeexpenses, including hiring pilots to fly it here).

SSC showed off the C-21 Learjet 35A inside its Boeing Field hangar on Wednesday afternoon. Never been there? Here’s a quick look inside:

SSC is one of five schools in the state with Aviation Maintenance Tech programs, but the first to have a Learjet.

It’s government surplus that will now be put to use for hands-on training; Pat Prociv of the AMT faculty told us that they’ll be able to roll it out and run the engine.

The college explained in its acquisition announcement:

The plane was acquired from the Department of Enterprise Services that accounts for government surplus items. Formerly a plane for the Michigan State Police, the Learjet became available in 2014. Through a competitive selection process, South was selected to acquire the aircraft because of the number of potential mechanics it will serve. Each quarter the AMT program enrolls an average of 175 students.

The jet is 48 feet and 8 inches long, with a wingspan of 39 feet and 6 inches. Maximum speed, 471 knots (542 miles) per hour. As for the 8-quarter AMT program at SSC, read all about it here.

2015 ELECTION: Mapping the City Council District 1 vote

November 25, 2015 at 9:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 16 Comments

(Click image for zoomable view)
Though the City Council District 1 race isn’t officially settled yet, and won’t be until after the recount, now that the election is certified, precinct-by-precinct results are available, and that’s what you see in the map above. It was made by Ben Anderstone, a political consultant with Progressive Strategies NW, who granted our request for permission to republish it here. The tones are green for Shannon Braddock and red for Lisa Herbold, on a graded scale, so that the lightest of each is closest to the almost exactly 50-50 split that the election became on a raw numbers basis. In all, per the final results sheet from the county (page 45), 45 percent of the registered voters in District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – returned their ballots. That’s 27,757 ballots out of 60,991 registered voters; almost 10 percent of them – 2,714 of them did not include a vote in this particular race.

West Seattle holidays: Menashe Family Lights going up

November 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle Christmas lights, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

The season of light is about to begin, and nowhere in West Seattle does it shine more brightly than in the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW, where the famous Menashe Family Christmas Lights display is going up.

After seeing the work in progress, we stopped briefly late this afternoon to find out when the lights officially go on. Josh Menashe told us this Sunday (November 29th) is the night.

The box where you can drop off letters to Santa, as you can see, is back – and you’ll find Santa himself visiting on Saturday night, December 12th, 6-10 pm – bring a nonperishable food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank.

P.S. This is featured in our West Seattle Holiday Guide along with our area’s two synched-to-music light shows.

Holiday giving: Sun shines on Lunches With Love volunteers

November 25, 2015 at 5:02 pm | In How to help, South Park, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Chalk signs pointed the way when we stopped by to see how the pre-Thanksgiving “Lunches With Love” volunteers were doing this afternoon in South Park. Steps from that sign, a garage was already filling with an estimated 400 sack lunches:

Upstairs, in organizer Lashanna Williams‘s sun-splashed kitchen, the all-ages volunteer crew continued making sandwiches and filling bags to deliver around the Sound tonight:

This is the third year for this day and night of pre-holiday giving:

You can still help – lunch-making was scheduled to continue until 6 pm, and then delivery starts around 9 – see our preview for location and other info.

CONGRATULATIONS! Another all-West Seattle soccer championship game

November 25, 2015 at 4:43 pm | In West Seattle news, WS & Sports | No Comments

More local soccer success! Thanks to Dr. Bryan Wiebe for the photo and report:

The Mukilteo Turkey Shoot Tournament this last weekend had both West Seattle teams end up in the final (and a shootout after double overtime!). Silly ‘Staches (note the socks) won this tournament, and Neon Fire won the WSSC U-11 division. Both teams had RobRoy Chalmers as head coach. Both teams are Champions.

Short on cash and/or companionship? 3 places welcoming you tomorrow for a free community Thanksgiving meal

November 25, 2015 at 3:01 pm | In Holidays, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

This year in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, we have three listings for a free community Thanksgiving meal. Organizers for all three stress that everyone is welcome – no prerequisites.

(WSB photo: T&TS crew preparing 2014 Thanksgiving dinner)
HALL OF FAUNTLEROY’S FREE DINNER: Again this year, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering will host a free, elegant Thanksgiving dinner for the community, noon-3 pm. Plenty of volunteers already are lined up but dessert donations are welcome, as noted in our preview – drop them off starting at 10 am on Thanksgiving. The Hall is on the south end of the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. (9131 California SW)

WEST SEATTLE EAGLES’ FREE DINNER: Once again, the Eagles plan a free community Thanksgiving dinner on the holiday – follow the link for menu details. 2-5 pm. (4426 California SW)

FREE THANKSGIVING MEAL IN SOUTH PARK: The South Park Senior Center sent word that it is hosting a free Thanksgiving meal for anyone who would like to attend. It’s at the South Park Neighborhood Center, 11 am-2 pm. (8201 10th Ave S.)

UPDATE: Full moon tonight, second ‘king tide’ today, & aftermath of the first one

November 25, 2015 at 12:08 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 2 Comments

(UPDATED with photo from Wednesday afternoon high tide)

(Tuesday night photo by David Hutchinson: Moonrise behind Columbia Center)

Tonight brings the official full moon – 4:50 pm moonrise (per the moon/sun times on the WSB West Seattle Weather page) – and about an hour and a half before that, another “king tide” at 3:22 pm, 12.2 feet, ALMOST as high as yesterday. Some north wind is in the forecast too. But as for whether we’ll see anything like this …

(Photo courtesy Liesbet)
… we’ll have to wait and see. We did stop by Alki this morning to see the aftermath of Tuesday’s wildness (here’s our video/photo gallery if you missed it):

That sand and driftwood at Statue of Liberty Plaza comprised most of what caught our eye, aside from a few puddles left on the promenade.

P.S. If you miss the king tides this month – next month brings three more, right around Christmas, and then there’s a round in mid-January with the highest of all. They’re all on this list.

ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: We did stop by the Alki promenade just after high tide, around 3:30. Some splashes, but nothing huge. Beautiful just the same:

Sunny again tomorrow, says the forecast; high tide will be at 4:04 pm.

West Seattle Wednesday: It’s all about the giving

November 25, 2015 at 11:09 am | In Holidays, West Seattle news | No Comments

(West Seattle Montessori & Academy [WSB sponsor] photo: What their students are thankful for)

On this day before Thanksgiving, you can give others a reason to be thankful too. From the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, two Thanksgiving Eve-specific reminders:

TURKEYS FOR WCFB: The White Center Food Bank (which also serves part of WS) needs more turkeys, and welcomes dropoffs until 7 pm tonight. (They’re OK on volunteer help, and grateful to everyone who responded to that part of the most-recent request.) Just take them over to the food bank at 10829 8th SW.

‘LUNCHES WITH LOVE’: This annual community-powered effort to feed hungry people could use your help in several ways – drop off lunch supplies, make some sack lunches and take them over, help make sack lunches at LWL’s home-based HQ, help take the lunches around the area tonight to people who need them. Details are in our preview from Monday.


We’re spotlighting other giving opportunities throughout the holiday season – you’ll find them in our guide, which also has holiday-specific information you might find useful tomorrow, including:

-Grocery-store hours
-Where to get coffee
-Restaurants that plan to be open

… and what happens AFTER Thanksgiving, too, from light shows to Santa visits to parties, concerts, special shopping events, and beyond. (We continue to update daily, so please keep sending info on your holiday events – – thanks!)

From the Gator-bots: Student researchers hope you’ll help again!

November 25, 2015 at 9:00 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

Just a few minutes of your time can help student researchers. Last year, you answered the Gator-bots’ call; here’s what they’re up to this time:

We are the Gator-bots, a Lego Robotics team from Holy Rosary in West Seattle. Last year the West Seattle Community was extremely helpful as we researched ways to share new Technology. This led the team to come up with a creative way to share information. We used this research as part of a project that was then presented at a competition in December.

This year our challenge is to do research on TRASH! Our project focus is to choose a piece of trash and identify a problem with the way it is currently handled. We are looking for problems with the way we make, transport, store, or turn trash into something new. Then find out what is being done to solve the problem.

West Seattle is a very progressive community so we are looking for something new. As a team we discussed opportunities we each have and decided that Food Scrap management may be an opportunity. We found out that New York City developed a profitable project to reduce food scraps that were dumped into the garbage and turn that into a profit by selling it as compost. This required a lot of community work and awareness.

Our Survey is developed to find out more about our community and get some thoughts from all of you.

Thank you in advance,
The Gator-bots

Start the survey here!

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Thanksgiving Eve Wednesday updates

November 25, 2015 at 7:38 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | No Comments

(Six WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
7:38 AM: Cold but relatively calm out there. Transit reminders for tomorrow again: The West Seattle Water Taxi will be out of service both days; Metro buses will be on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving, “reduced weekday” on Friday; Sound Transit Route 560 will be on the “weekend” schedule on Thanksgiving, “weekday” on Friday; Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run, regular schedule.

ONE MORE FRIDAY REMINDER: The annual holiday parade in the morning and Westlake Center tree lighting in the evening bring street closures – details are in the SDOT weekend preview.

8:28 AM: And a reminder for today – school’s out one hour early (for the schools that are still in session – elementary/K-8 has been out all week for parent/teacher conferences) to get the four-day Thanksgiving break started.

West Seattle Crime Watch followups: Court notes in arson, robbery cases

November 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | No Comments

Two court updates in recent West Seattle cases:

ARSON SUSPECT LOSES BAIL-CUT BID: When serial-arson suspect Jacob Kokko was arraigned on Monday, he pleaded not guilty and asked for a bail reduction. Both are fairly routine at this stage in a case. Judge Dean Lum said no to the bail-cut request, so Kokko remains held in lieu of $300,000 bail. Two weeks have passed since prosecutors charged the 22-year-old High Point resident in connection with three October fires.

ROBBERY SUSPECT NOT CHARGED: The $100,000 bail first set for an Arbor Heights man suspected in the recent holdup at the Westwood Village GameStop store is no longer in effect – prosecutors have not filed charges, saying the investigation is still ongoing. But he’s still in jail because of a $10,000 failure-to-appear warrant in a domestic-violence assault case.

Former Chief Sealth International HS principal Chris Kinsey dies

November 24, 2015 at 9:58 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 10 Comments

Family and friends are mourning former Chief Sealth International High School principal Chris Kinsey, who died last weekend at just 43 years old. No details are available, and there’s no word yet of a memorial service. Mr. Kinsey was an assistant principal at Cleveland High School for three years before taking over at Sealth in the fall of 2011; he led CSIHS for two school years before announcing in June 2013 that he had decided not to return for a third year. He did not disclose his future plans at that time, and all Seattle Public Schools could tell us today was that he was not an SPS employee at the time of his death. According to biographical information from the district provided when he became Sealth’s interim principal in August 2011, Mr. Kinsey started his education career in 1999 as a teacher at Meany Middle School. (WSB photo, 2011)

City Councilmember Lorena González takes office: West Seattleite makes history

November 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

(Seattle City Council photo, via Twitter)

Tonight, West Seattle resident Lorena González became the first Seattle City Councilmember to take the oath of office after the certification of the November election. As noted in the city announcement below, her election itself represented a long-overdue first:

Councilmember Lorena González received the Oath of Office, following certification of election results by King County Elections. Before her friends and colleagues and a packed-Council Chambers, González reflected on her election, plans for her forthcoming Council term, and shared what it means to be the first Latina/o to serve the Seattle City Council in a speech clocking-in at less than ten minutes.

(Added Wednesday: Seattle Channel video of ceremony and speech)
“Mayor Murray, Council President Burgess, friends and family, sisters and brothers, I stand before you today with sincere appreciation for the opportunity I have to represent our community in our state’s largest city as the first Latina sworn into the Seattle City Council.”

Citing her experience as a civil rights attorney and community advocate, González also acknowledged her service as legal counsel to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and as a partner at Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, representing workers in wage theft and anti-discrimination cases and representing victims of police misconduct as formative experiences. She also recognized and thanked her parents for “…(believing) the American dream was achievable.”

Born and raised in Washington’s lower Yakima Valley to a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, González – who earned her first paycheck at the age of 8 – reminded the audience “…I don’t have the background of a typical politician. Mine is a lived experience rooted in the reality of overcoming poverty and injustice. I am living proof that access to opportunity, coupled with hard work, is a recipe for success. I graduated high school in the face of overwhelming odds. I worked in a food plant, a bank, a retail store, a fast food chain, a day care, and a hotel.”

González conjured memories of picking cherries as a child, spending as many as three hours a day before the start of the school day, and “Often in an environment where I was sprayed with pesticides, or working without access to a bathroom or water…. it’s these formative moments and experiences that inspired me to want to be an advocate, a champion, for those people who I see myself in — even to this day — and especially for those who haven’t had a strong voice in government. They live in the shadows, and I did too – until I saw a path and climbed my way out.“

González went on to outline her intentions to draw on her extensive experience standing up for progressive values and the underrepresented to her work serving the people of Seattle as one of two at-large (citywide) representatives.

In her final moments in Chambers, González turned her attention to future Council colleagues. “My word is my deed,” said González. “I have dedicated my life’s work to defending workers’ rights and will continue this fight – in the name of wage theft on behalf of a cook, or defending men and women against retribution in all its forms. I’ll continue my quest to stand up for dignity in the workplace, and in my work here at city hall on behalf of workers…I will not back down from tackling tough issues or seeking solutions that build a stronger community.”

Born and raised in Central Washington in a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, Councilmember González relied on need-based grants and scholarships to attend community college and later Washington State University. She moved to Seattle in 2002 to attend Seattle University Law School. González has served on various local, regional and national non-profit boards, including OneAmerica, OneAmerica Votes, National Council of La Raza, Northwest Area Foundation, and Washington State Association for Justice.

Councilmember González won the Position 9 race with 78 percent of the vote. If you’re downtown or able to get there, Councilmember González is having an open house in her new office at City Hall tomorrow morning, 9:30 am-11:30 am

Next Page »

All contents copyright 2005-2015, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^