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South of downtown, almost in its shadow
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father of two girls, slumlord to artists and musicians, lapsed painter, insufferable neighborhood activist


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Aug 1 south downtown commented on Guest Editorial: Citizen Oversight Won't Suffer at All If We Vote for a Seattle Parks District.
@29 you can see where the pro and con sides get there money by looking at the SEEC website, right sidebar…

Our Parks Forever has raised a whopping $36K

The pro campaign, Parks for All has raised $332K

Look at their donations. The big beneficiaries of this additional largess (the zoo, aquarium, ball fields, designers of the waterfront park (…), basically all the fat cats and downtown big money are behind them.

Its funny how you are a big supporter of Kshama, the socialists and working class, but are siding with the big money and downtown interests on this issue.
Aug 1 south downtown commented on Guest Editorial: Citizen Oversight Won't Suffer at All If We Vote for a Seattle Parks District.
MIchael, perhaps taking a lesson from the feckless liars, has spewed a stream of disinformation and blatant exploitation (holding poor kids ransom), and obfuscation on the powers of the MPD.

Let's parse some of his BS:

1) "citizen oversight committee (already part of a passed ordinance—aka law) that will work with the city council, the parks board, and the mayor’s office in providing advice to and oversight of the parks department.

- the "law" only directs Council to sign the ILA - so the law as it stands in and of itself is meaningless. ("If the voters of the proposed Seattle Park District approve its formation, the Mayor is authorized and directed to enter into an interlocal agreement with the Seattle Park District substantially in the form attached as Attachment 1, with such changes as the Mayor deems necessary and advisable, such that the intent of the City as expressed herein is carried out. "). The ILA however is mutable and as an agreement between Council and itself (as MPD Board) somewhat suspect as representing a checks/balances system. This is why the League of Women Voters are calling BS on the MPD.

- the "advice and oversight" Michael touts is relatively limited per the suggested ILA, and is targeted mostly at reviewing reports and holding meetings with the public. The BIG responsibility is preparing a few reports ("annual report on the progress of expenditures, a mid-term report half-way through each 6-year period, and a final report in advance of each 6-year update to the spending plan"). That's some serious oversight and advice, huh? Read it for yourself, Michael provided the link.

2) Michael twists what the "our parks forever" essay states. He says "While Don and Carol state that the “traditional process [of funding parks] allows us a periodic vote on the collection of taxes and the allocations of funds to specified projects and programs,” the facts are different. " What they said was "The traditional levy process allows us a periodic vote on the collection of taxes and the allocation of funds to specified projects and programs. It provides a definitive dollar amount. It states the applicable duration of time for the tax. These are all characteristics not included in an MPD." See that - they said levy and HE turned it into a General Fund conversation. Deceitful, period.

- Levies are meant to fund projects that will take years to accomplish and are too great to fund via the General Fund.

- and while Michale is correct, Eyman has fucked things up some, the General Fund has grown substantially since the Great Recession (by a couple hundred million) and now tops a billion dollars.

3) Michael points the truth meter at the Times for the "20%" increase in taxes statement on the flyer, and I would say that this was a dumb assertion, but the truth is that property taxes for Parks WILL BE going up. The MPD seeks an initial tax for parks twice the current levy amount, and that can go up to 4 times the current levy "without a vote" as the anti-tax folks point out.

-- So overall property taxes going up? yes, just not 20%. But taxes for Parks are going up a lot. Why is this a problem? Well, many of us opposed to the MPD feel that Parks isn't spending its money wisely now, so giving it more money may not be a good idea until we can figure out how to make them operate better. We are already at the top nationwide in parks staff per capita, and parks funding per capita. So why can't they clean the bathrooms at Green Lake.

-- also, the MPD is being used for operational and small maintenance items, best left to the growing General Fund. Also, note that if necessary, the City may need to still issue levies in the future for large long term projects since this "stable source of funding for parks" that the proponents tout really only funds part of the Parks budget. The bulk of the funding STILL COMES FROM THE GENERAL FUND.

4) "This followed public testimony wherein 67 percent of people who testified before the council did so in favor of the Metropolitan Parks District."

- the Parks Foundation (part of the impetus for the MPD) was able to trot out recipients of its monies to show up at city hall and say they wanted funding. However at the PLPCAC meetings meant to assess the funding options for Parks, citizens were 80% against the MPD, a fact that Michael as a PLPCAC member chose to discount. This in itself does not bode well for how well citizen voices are going to be heard in the new regime.

What should be pointed out is that the language in the pro- MPD mailers and their claims are also dubious and deceitful (maybe that makes them "feckless liars" as well).

The flyer says "stable and dedicated funding for neighborhood parks", but the MPD only provides a portion of the funding for Parks based on today's Park's budget.

The flyer says "due to a lack of stable, dedicated funding we've neglected [parks]", but as we are already pay more per capita than any other city, perhaps mismanagement may be why we have a problem as well. Like the millions Parks had to pay after the Building 11 debacle. Calls for an audit of the department have been ignored.

The flyer says "We now face a growing $267M backlog", but that backlog has some pretty low priority items, and has not been publicly scrutinized (it was just accepted by Michael and the PLPCAC as is, but even Parks admits it really has no real maintenance tracking system).

So somehow Michael is concerned about "baldfaced lies", but many of us are concerned about a ginned-up process that puts yes-men like Michael on "citizen committee" stacked with insiders with special interest motivations (such as an expensive waterfront park) that put kids of color on the brochures to sell their scheme.

Don't listen to this shill...

Aug 1 south downtown commented on Guest Editorial: Why Voting for a Seattle Metropolitan Parks District Means Losing Citizen Oversight.
@50 typical selfish priorities. you'd rather have the city spend money on a floating swimming pool. I'd rather have the city spend money helping the homeless and disadvantaged.

@51 well, i can see how some dolts could be confused that 206-911-9111 is "911" and "tricked" into answering the phone, and certainly that was a dumb choice of a spoofing number, but the statute says "Prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value." Seems a stretch here...
Jul 31 south downtown commented on Guest Editorial: Why Voting for a Seattle Metropolitan Parks District Means Losing Citizen Oversight.
@35 Levies should not be used for "basic school funding" and other operational (e.g. regular maintenance items). They should be used for large ticket items that need to be paid for over a period of years (4, 6, 12).

Part of the issue with the so-called backlog is it is a mish-mash of low-level maintenance items deferred (paint this, widen that trail, etc) and larger long term items perhaps best left to levies. Here is part of the base problem - Parks really has no system for keeping track of all that.

What has not been scrutinized is what goes where and how and when to fund it, and instead the general notion of a system grossly underfunded has been framed by those selling the MPD.

So possibly we will move to a MPD system where maybe we will still need levies in the future to do large projects and we will have just increased operational monies to a Parks Department that is already arguably top-shelf from a funding standpoint but can't seem to clean the toilets.

Now maybe you are ok with that, but some folks are interested in better governance, not just throwing more money at a problem (think Bertha. and like Bertha, with an MPD we can't back out).

Of course, maybe you just can't be bothered with all that. But to date Council and many MPD supporters seem to be of that mind...

Jul 31 south downtown commented on Guest Editorial: Why Voting for a Seattle Metropolitan Parks District Means Losing Citizen Oversight.
@31 yes, the Downtown Waterfront Park is an elephant in the room.

Since it appears that a downtown LID (local improvement district) to pay for this mega-million parks spending spree (floating swimming pools, misters, etc) is unlikely (quel surprise, downtown property owners against taxes), why not get everyone else to pay for it.

In fact, there is a lot of crossover between the "citizens" committee recommending the MPD and the Waterfront folks.

The MPD already has $4M/year in maintenance for the waterfront park in the plan. That could clean up a lot of bathrooms throughout the system...
Jul 31 south downtown commented on Guest Editorial: Why Voting for a Seattle Metropolitan Parks District Means Losing Citizen Oversight.
you're all stoned.

Yes, this opinion piece is dumb, and off-target for a stoned, younger crowd. And their flyer is dumb, too. But there are still reasons to not vote for an MPD at this time.

For some of us that are voting NO, the larger concern is the CURRENT lack of accountability at Parks and how that carries on with the MPD.

Parks has never been audited (to determine how to make them more efficient). Seattle is already at the top nationally for parks funding per capita and parks staff per capita. Parks can't clean the bathrooms at Green Lake but we can pay the top 25 employees all over $100K/year and give them raises totaling over a quarter million dollars over the last two years.

And the so-called $287M backlog appears to be at least slightly inflated (good luck getting a Stranger 'reporter' to look into that) with many items not really a near-term issue.

So throwing money at the department isn't necessarily the solution. And General Fund revenues are going up so we are not likely in the near term to have to worry about cutting departments' funding and will have more for Parks.

MPD oversight and audit claims are also somewhat suspect. Look at how the "citizens committee" recommending this was hand-picked with no public review and represented largely beneficiaries of increased funding (no wonder they recommended it - and continue to show up in comments threads touting the benefits, or fund the YES side, such as the Aquarium and Zoo have).

The new "Oversight Committee" will include Parks Board members which has on it now Tom Tierney, the man responsible for displacing 560 families of the Yesler Terrace community and selling off the land for development (can anyone say Vulcan). And Parks already has a bad track record regarding turning over Parks land (such as kicking artists out of Building 11 a few years ago with the idea of putting in a Virginia Mason medical facility instead). Remember the MPD would have the authority to raise revenues through commercialization of the parks.

Council already does a crappy job overseeing this department, and as the MPD Board, wouldn't likely do much better.

But AFTER Parks is cleaned up , and with a separately elected MPD Board (who would be FULL TIME overseeing the department), THEN give them more money. Because we really aren't taxed enough for things like parks, transit and education.

Finally for those saying that this is all wealthy homeowners saying "no", here is uber-lefty (and underpaid) EAT THE STATE publisher Geov Parrish telling us why to vote NO:
Jul 22 south downtown commented on WATCH: Dave Meinert Shoved in Parks Meeting Melee! (Or Something!).
When will the Stranger feature a column with a political issue and Anna can wax naively on it as she does with those old records. Oh wait, she already does with everything she writes...
Jul 21 south downtown commented on Jazz and Classical Musicians Gripe About Pitiful Trickles of Money from Streaming Services.
yup, for crissakes, dumb it down for the masses. vapid music is far more popular...
Jul 19 south downtown commented on What Are You Doing This Weekend? Here Are Suggestions From Our Critics.
Would love to hear Mudede elaborate on Molotch's growth machine thesis and the role therein of The Stranger and their neo-liberal pro-development rantings.

Perhaps best explained as the repetition of urbanist folklore by naive stoned kids...
Jul 19 south downtown commented on Interview with Author Dave Zirin about the Brazil World Cup and FIFA's Corruption.
i'm pretty sure Dave opposed the sweetheart deal McGinn made for the Sonics. did you talk about that?

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