Currently viewing the tag: "Seattle School Board"

Campaign Disclosure Information can be found at the Washington State Public Disclosure website , as well as at the City of Seattle Ethics and Election Commission website.  You can get more detailed on these races, including who gave them money, how much and how the campaign spent it. This information is what was reported as of Nov 2, 2009.

Seattle City Mayor – no incumbent
Joe Mallahan ……raised $711,205 …..spent $655,524

Michael McGinn …..raised $204,912 …..spent $166,774

City Council Position 2 - Incumbent is Richard Conlin

Richard Conlin …. raised $175,980…. spent $134,283

David Ginsberg…. raised $41,177…. spent $42,044

City Council Position 4 - no incumbent

Sally Bagshaw …. raised $224,134…. spent $172,104

David Bloom …. raised $93,907  …. spent $85,411

City Council Position 6 - Incumbent is Nick Licata

Jessie Israel …. raised $184,213…. spent $170,664

Nick Licata…. raised $138,021…. spent $128,843

City Council Position 8 - no incumbent

Mike O’Brien …. raised  $129,103 ….spent  $99,886

Robert Rosencrantz ….raised $222,022…. spent $208,794

Seattle City Attorney - Incumbent is Tom Carr

Thomas Carr …..raised $92,006 …..spent $77,440

Peter Holmes …..raised $85,521 ……spent $78,949

Seattle School District #4 - Michael DeBell is incumbent

Michael DeBell …..raised $5,505 …..spent $3,491

Seattle School District #5 – Incumbent is Mary Bass

Kay Smith-Blum …..raised $54,910 …..spent $48,904

Mary Bass …..raised $35,006 …..$34,377

Seattle School District #7 - no incumbent

Betty Patu ……raised $11,291 ….spent $8,275

Wilson Chim …..raised $53,513 …..spent $40,866

King County Elections posted at 9:52 PM the last results for today of ballots that were received through Tuesday in the mail and in person polling today at its three locations. The next results will be at 4:30 PM on Wednesday.

It is going to be a bad night for Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle as he currently is in third and is closely trailing two challengers Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan. Polls leading up to the election today that showed his support was very low coming into Election Day were obviously fairly accurate in saying he was in trouble.

Here are the early numbers:

Mike McGinn 16,891 26.56%

Joe Mallahan 16,376 25.81%

Greg Nickels 15,921 25.05%

This was an all mail in ballot and being an August Primary the turnout is very low so far. This could change if a lot of people waited until today to turn in ballots in the mail. Tomorrow’s numbers will be more decisive. King 5 TV tonight thought that maybe only 50% of the potential ballots were in so far and counted.

The current mailed in ballots only comprise 17.37% of registered Seattle voters. (Ballots Cast/Registered Voters: 65,942 / 379,721 17.37%)

The King County Executives race in November is going to be between Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchinson. Hutchinson was the only “Republican” candidate in the race and got 37.4% of the vote Dow Constantine one of 4 Democrats running got 22.38% of the vote.

Court of Appeals Judge Anne L Ellington is easily winning with 74.16% of the vote.

Port Commission Position 3 saw Rob Holland at 50.93% and David Doud at 33.10%.

Port Commission Position 4 saw Tom Albo at 38.72%. Second was Max Vekich at 26.75% and Robert Wilkes at 24,70%. This race could still see some changes and is too close to call for second.

Seattle School Board members are elected by District. The top 2 candidates in the Primary then run citywide in November. in Position #5 incumbent Mary Bass received 38.51% of the vote with challenger Kay Smith Blum at 38.03%. In Position #7 Betty Patu received 46.31% and Wilson Chin 41.31%.

In Seattle City Council Position 4 Sally Bagshaw received 49.99% to David Bloom’s 18.2%.

In Seattle City Council Position 6 incumbent Nick Licata polled 52.82% to Jessie Israel’s 29.99%.

In Seattle City Council Position 8 Mike O’Brien received 35.58% to Robert Rosencrantz’s 19.38%

Voters voted down Referendum 1 on bag fees by 58.09% to 41.91%

Three Seattle School Board seats are up for election this year and two seats have Primary Elections. The School District has an odd hybrid electoral system where candidates run in a district in the Primary and city wide in the General Election.

Seattle School Board President Michael DeBell is running unopposed and will not be on the Primary ballot. In the second seat up, incumbent Mary Bass is opposed by 3 other candidates, Joanna Cullen, Andre Helmsletter and Kay Blum-Smith. The third seat is that being vacated by Cheryl Chow and has three candidates running. Wilson Chin, Charlie Mas and Betty Patu.

Despite the fact that the Seattle School District is in Seattle and of obvious interest to Seattle residents, campaign finance information for the candidates is not posted on the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission website. This is something that the city should include, especially considering how often candidates running for Seattle City Council or Mayor seem to mention the issues of our schools.

Also conspicuously absent is the fact that there are no campaign contribution limits for those running for Seattle School Board. While candidates for city office are limited to accepting a maximum of $700 per person per election cycle, no such limits exist for Seattle School Board. Two years ago this allowed some large contributions by a few individuals to influence the outcome of the races to a significant degree.

The following information is taken from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission’s website.

One candidate this year for School Board, Wilson Chin, has received 4 contributions over the limit for other city offices. Two were for $2500 and two were for $1500. All told Chin has raised only $9,938 but it is the most in his race for Position #7 in South Seattle. Betty Patu has raised $1,035 and Charlie Mas has reported no contributions to date.

In Position 5, Mary Bass the incumbent, has raised some $6,142 , including a loan of $3,000. One contribution from Nadean Bass was for $1,000. Kay Smith-Blum has raised $26,165 and spent $19,710 to date. Her fundraising includes some $10,720 from 86 contributors; a $7,200 loan and $7,000 of her personal funds. Her largest individual contribution was for $400. The other two candidates, Joanna Cullen and Andre Helmsletter reported no campaign contributions.

Two years ago the races for Seattle School District saw huge amounts of money spent, much of it coming after the primary and in contributions much larger than the $700 limit for Seattle City Council and Mayoral races. The money was a coordinated effort to put more “congenial” people on the Board who didn’t ask as many questions. It worked if that was what you wanted.

Sherry Carr raised $149,130 with 31 contributions over $700 totaling some $105,700.

Peter Maier raised some $167,000 with 30 contributions over $700 totaling some $101,500.

Stephen Sundquist raised some $116,775 with 35 contributions over $700 totaling some $61,000.

The goal of this extraordinary amount of money was to defeat candidates like Darlene Flynn and Sally Soriano who disturbed the powers to be by asking too many questions and not taking the word of school administrators all the time.

Those who replaced them brought different results. You got people, for example, who did not question an administrative decision still ongoing to build in a rare plant habitat at Ingraham High School. They also were the votes that picked the fuzzy math approach for new textbooks. As the Seattle Times wrote about the math textbook vote:

“The other side, however, did not make a case for the reform text.

They argued instead that the “Discovering” books had been recommended by a committee, and that the board should respect the committee. Board member Steve Sundquist said, “I should probably not be telling educators how to teach.”

They argued that textbooks aren’t that important anyway. Board member Peter Maier said the books “allow a variety of teaching methods.”

They argued that textbook adoption was too important to waste any more time. “How many classes are we willing to graduate while we disagree over textbooks?” said board member Sherry Carr.

So the dominant paradigm — and reform math is that — continues. Dominance has its privileges. The supporters of reform math did not have to define their terms or label themselves. They did not have to make a logical argument or show any data.

They engaged in what you might call a cooperative group activity, and led themselves to discover the books that were wanted.”

So far contributions this year seem much more subdued but we could see a repeat. It would be unfortunate if once again large contributions influenced the races and produced more yes votes toeing the line of the Seattle School Administration without asking the tough questions.

Threatened NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School

Mayor Greg Nickels has decided to join the Seattle School Board Chainsaw Gang. In a decision based partly on challenged flawed documents produced by the Seattle School District, Mayor Nickels, through his Department of Planning and Development, has given the Seattle School District conditional SEPA approval to proceed with the Ingraham High School construction project.

The final project permit has not been approved. The public has until Feb 5, 2009 to appeal the city’s conditional SEPA decision. The City’s lack of commitment to save the trees under this decision brings the trees one step closer to being cut. Save the Trees -Seattle will be appealing the flawed decision.

The Seattle School District has proposed cutting down 72 large Douglas fir, western red cedar and Pacific madrone trees on the west side of Ingraham High School that are 75 years old and over 100 feet tall to replace some existing portables. The trees to be cut are seen in the picture above.

Ingraham High School can have both trees and classrooms. The open lawn area on the North side of the school in the picture above has been chosen as a future building site for the school and could be used now to build the proposed addition without having to cut down any large trees.

At 28 acres, the Ingraham High School campus is the largest public high school campus in the city. There are also other locations the addition could be easily built without having to sacrifice a unique urban forest area.

What hasn’t been debated publicly is that at the same time the Seattle School District is shutting down schools across the city because of excess capacity, it is proposing adding an additional 10,000 square feet to Ingraham High School above the 12,000 square feet it is demolishing and replacing. The School District has said it has an extra 3000 high student seat capacity yet is adding, according to its application, 200 more seats at Ingraham High School above the current 1200.

Why when the Seattle School District is experiencing a $37 million shortfall and closing schools is it not re-evaluating the $24 million it is spending for new parking lots and more classrooms at Ingraham High School?

The City’s decision notes that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has classified habitat containing Douglas fir, Pacific madrone and Salal as a “rare plant community” in King County. Mayor Nickel’s DPD however accepts the School District’s incomplete and false statements that the understory does not have adequate species diversity.

One of the School District’s own arborist reports confirmed the species diversity is there despite the district’s repeated efforts to cut and mow the understory. Salal is growing back in a number of areas in the tree grove once mowing stopped last year. The DPD even confirms the viability of the unique habitat by noting that “the Northwest Tree Stand could eventually be restored.” The critical componet of the habitat is the 75 year old trees. The understory has been mowed repeatedly by the School District but is actually coming back once they put the fence up and stopped mowing.

Save the Trees- Seattle calls Mayor Nickel’s decision hypocritical because he has strongly touted the need to save trees in Seattle and increase our urban canopy. Yet when he has a chance to save a threatened urban grove of trees he fails to act.

Citizens have to spend time and resources trying to save trees across the city because the Mayor and City Council have failed to enact needed stronger tree preservation ordinances. Other cities like Redmond and Lake Forest Park for example require a permit to cut down any tree over 6 inches in diameter. Here in Seattle people can cut down almost anything they want without a permit or city permission. That is one of the reasons the cities tree canopy has decreased from 40% in 1973 to only 18% today.

The Mayor’s actions speak louder than words. His lack of commitment to save trees when given the chance like at Ingraham High School shows he has a stronger preference for more development and parking lots than he does for saving our green urban habitat. His lack of decisive action to save the trees joins him with the Seattle School District in their disregard for protecting our neighborhoods, our natural environment and our diminishing green urban canopy and diverse habitats.

Link to DPD website with decision on application #3009549: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/LUIB/AttachmentProject3009549ID31883009549.pdf

Slog has posted some possible school closings to be announced tonight at a Seattle School Board workshop tonight.

Schools mentioned as possible closures include:
TT Minor Elementary
Alternative School #1
African American Academy
Lowell Elementary

Summit is proposed to be moved to Rainier Beach and Thornton Creek Elementary moved to the Jane Addams Building which has housed Summit. There is a discussion thread on Slog.

You can also track various discussions of what is happening at these websites:

West Seattle Blog which has a post on “Arbor Heights Elementary reportedly on the school closure list” , will be live blogging the meeting tonight.

The Seattle Public School community blog will also be live blogging. They have started discussion of the issue at School Closure/Consolidation Rumors & News.

Does it sound to you like the Seattle School District really has this figured out? That’s quite a range – closing 3 schools up to triple that at 9 schools. It doesn’t inspire me to visualize that they are on top of this. One would think the numbers would be a little more precise. Of course a projected $24 million shortfall in their budget doesn’t help to calm anyone’s nerves and maybe they’re having trouble figuring out the numbers. Numbers have something to do with math.

As the Seattle PI notes:

“…the district’s longtime enrollment imbalances — largely a result of the district’s school-choice policy — have led to overcrowded schools in North Seattle and some underenrolled South End schools.
Even with the School Board’s 2006 decision to close seven school buildings, the district has 18 percent more classroom space than it needs for its students, according to a recent audit of the state’s 10 largest school districts.
District officials were already considering whether to close more schools when they learned that the district faces at least a $24 million shortfall in the 2009-10 budget. That deficit could grow to more than $44 million if the state withholds Initiative 728 money or cost-of-living increases because of the economic downturn. The initiative, aimed at reducing class size, was passed in 2000.
As a result, the School Board unanimously voted two weeks ago to authorize Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson to immediately begin the process of closing schools.”

On Tuesday night, November 25, 2008 , the Seattle School District is going to announce their plans. As noted on the Seattle Public Schools website for Tuesday night:

Preliminary recommendations presented by the Superintendent, and discussed by the Board at a School Board workshop at 6:00 p.m., John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Avenue South. This workshop will be videotaped for later streaming on our Web site.”

The Seattle School District will then hold two public workshops on the preliminary sites chosen for closure and also will hold public hearings at the schools to be closed.

Thursday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Auditorium 2445 – 3rd Avenue South, Seattle, Washington

Saturday, December 6th, 9:30 – 11:30 AM Filipino Community Center, Main Ballroom 5740 Martin Luther King Way, Seattle, Washington

Public hearings will be held at buildings proposed for closure on Monday, December 15, Tuesday, December 16 and Thursday, December 18. Times and locations will be advertised and posted on the Seattle School district website. This link also has other dates and meetings that are relevant to the proposed school closures and is the best place to follow the process.

The school district site also notes that “Feedback related to capacity management and building closure is welcome. Comments may be emailed to capacity@seattleschools.org, to schoolboard@seattleschools.org or mailed to School Board, PO Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA, 98124-1165. The School Board office phone number is 206 252 0040.”

There is at least one excellent community source to help track public reaction to the proposed closures and voicie your opinion. that is the Seattle Public Schools community blog

Excellent recent commentary includes “The Calm Before the Storm or Not?” by Melissa Westbrook and “Where is the Conversation?” by Charlie Maas.

Another blog that posted information on the proposed school closures is the West Seattle Blog.
As they note “…South and West Seattle have the most likelihood of finding schools on this list, since the north end has been dealing with overcrowding,”

And then there’s this illuminating comment by westello on the West Seattle Blog post that rightly points out:

“…if you look at this schedule, the initial announcements are two days before Thanksgiving. The public hearings for each site are the days before the Winter Break right about the time most elementaries have their holiday concerts.
And the final list is to be announced right after the Winter Break. This is a lot to absorb and carry during Thanksgiving and the holidays. I know the district
didn’t mean to be cruel but the timing is harsh.
I appreciate the West Seattle blog keeping up with this but I think between the timing of the meetings and the economic realities overwhelming many, that this will not be on many people’s radar.”

Why is it again and again that the public seems to be at the tail end of each current crisis in the Seattle School District’s process? Doing all of this during the holiday season seems the least likely time to engage the public. But maybe that’s part of their plan.

Threatened NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School

 

Your comments now can help save the trees at Ingraham High School in North Seattle from the chainsaw!

If you have not yet heard, the Seattle School District has refilled their application to proceed ahead with their construction project at Ingraham High School. Here is the permit website: http://web1.seattle.gov/DPD/permitstatus/Project.aspx?id=3009549.

Comments need to be sent by Nov. 13, 2008!!! (note -deadline was extended)

The Seattle School District has filed to build the project in the same location as before – in the grove of 100 foot tall, 75 year old Douglas fir, Pacific madrone and western red cedar trees on the West side of the High School. This will result in the cutting down of 68 of the trees.

As you may remember, Save the Trees – Seattle was successful in temporarily stopping the Seattle School District from cutting down the trees in August after the District withdrew their permits. But the Injunction was only temporary and the school district has refiled with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development to go ahead with the Project.

The Judge at the time ruled that it was premature to file our appeal of the DNS (Determination of Non-Significance) on the Environmental checklist issued by the Seattle School District, even though the Seattle School District said we had to file then or lose our right to appeal.

Judge John Erlick of the King County Superior Court noted that the City of Seattle had the power to alter the project or put additional conditions on it and until the city approved the permit, the final project could be altered by the city. The Judge felt it was premature to rule on the merits of the case.

This is of course the hope of those opposing the trees being cut down and why your comments to the city are so important. The city has the option of saying the environmental impacts are significant in the proposed location that results in so many trees being cut down and ask the Seattle School District to move the project to another location.

Right now the Project has only been reviewed within the Seattle School District. Now it is the City of Seattle’s turn to review the Project for compliance with city laws, including our land use and environmental and SEPA laws. This is your opportunity to comment on the project and it is important that as many people as possible respond and urge the city to not approve the Seattle School District’s plan to cut the trees down. Comments must be sent by Nov. 13, 2008.

The fact is that there are other locations at Ingraham High School that the addition can be built on that do not require that any large trees be cut down, including the open lawn area on the North side of the school. They do not need to cut the trees down. Neighbors support the renovation which is to replace decaying portables at the school but not in the tree grove. We can have both education and trees on the Ingraham campus, which at 28 acres is the largest public high school campus in Seattle.

Important points to make to help save the trees:

1. Seattle’s latest Comprehensive Plan in the Environment Element states that the city should “strive to protect and retain certain trees and groups of trees that enhance Seattle’s historical, cultural, environmental and aesthetic values” and “work to achieve a sustainable urban forest that contains a diverse mix of tree species and ages in order to use the forest’s abilities to reduce storm water runoff and pollution, absorb air pollutants, provide wildlife habitat, absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade, stabilize soil, and increase property values.”

2. In addition the Comprehensive Plan’s policy is “to strive to achieve no net loss of tree canopy coverage starting in 2008, and strive to increase tree canopy coverage by 1% per year up to a total of 40 percent, to reduce storm runoff, absorb air pollutants, reduce noise, stabilize soil, provide habitat and mitigate the heat island effect of developed areas.” Seattle’s urban tree canopy has gone from 40% in 1972 to 18% today.

3. The west grove of trees at Ingraham HS was acknowledged by the Hearing Examiner for the Seattle School District to be a de facto park area used by students and neighbors for passive recreation and would be lost if the trees are cut.

4. SMC 25.05.675 N Plants and animals. City SEPA law states that it is “the City’s policy to minimize or prevent the loss of wildlife habitat and other vegetation which have substantial aesthetic, educational, ecological and/or economic value. A high priority shall be given to preservation and protection of special habitat types… A high priority shall also be given to meeting the needs of state and federal threatened, endangered and sensitive species of both plants and animals.”

5. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources through its Natural Heritage Program has classified the habitat in the west grove as a rare plant community in King County. The plant association includes Douglas fir, Pacific Madrone and salal. Pacific madrone trees are in decline in the region and need to be protected.

6. The band-tailed pigeon, which feeds on the fruit of the madrone tree, and has been seen in the Ingraham neighborhood, has been listed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as a priority species. “Priority species require protective measures for their survival due to their population status, sensitivity to habitat alteration ….”, according to the Department.

7. The Seattle City Council’s recently passed tree grove resolution stated that , “Section 25.05.675(N) of the Seattle Municipal Code allows for preservation of trees as mitigation when a project would reduce or damage rare, uncommon, unique or exceptional plant or wildlife habitat, wildlife travel ways, or habitat diversity for species of substantial aesthetic, education, ecological or economic value”

8. The Seattle School District’s DNS (Determination of Non-significance) is not a mitigated DNS. This means they are under no obligation to do anything they say they will do if they cut the trees – like plant more trees or protect the east grove of trees. The Seattle School District has a terrible record at Ingraham of trees dying that they previously planted.

9. Removing the trees creates drainage problems because the trees help control runoff and absorb water.

These are some points you can make but please write up in your own words your personal comments. Add any other reasons that you believe as to why the trees should be saved.

You can send comments 3 different ways:

1. Click on this link and you can just fill in your comments right now and send them in for the project. http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/LUIB/CommentEmail.aspx?BID=358&NID=8971&P=3009549&D=10/16/2008

2. Send comments to: Tamara.Garrett@seattle.gov

3. Send comments to:

DPD/Attention Tamara Garrett
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124

Please include your name and address so you can be kept updated on the project, and be notified when there is a public meeting.Note the comments are on Permit Application #3009549 on the Ingraham High School Renovation.

Please send a blind copy – bcc to me at stevezemke@msn.com so that we can track the response and input we are getting if you send by separate e-mail and don’t use the form in the link above.

Even a few short sentences are helpful. We need to show strong public support from as many people as possible for saving the trees and moving the addition to another site, like the North lawn area at Ingraham.

The DPD on their website gives the following suggestions for making comments:
http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Notices/Public_Comment/How_To_Comment/default.asp#Tips Tips on Making Effective CommentsAlthough the quantity of letters DPD receives regarding land use activities may indicate the extent of neighborhood or agency interest, it is the relevance of the comments—the information they contain—that will most affect a project’s outcome. Here are some tips on making your comments effective:

Briefly explain who you are and why you are interested in the project.
State your concerns clearly and succinctly using objective language.
Comment only on issues relevant to the decision being made.
State opinions and preferences, ask questions, and propose alternative solutions to particular issues. State informed opinions and, where possible, include data to support your opinion.
Review the project’s technical reports or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) data, comment on conclusions, assumptions and the data collecting methods.
Keep focused on your objective. You want DPD to hear your concerns and be compelled enough to investigate further.
Identify the topics you want to include in your letter and how you want to organize them.
Ask for studies that you think are important but have not been provided.
If the proposed project is subject to SEPA and you think it will have significant environmental impact, request that an EIS be prepared.
Provide your own information.
Identify project features that you like and think should not be changed.
Provide any comments about the project’s compliance with the Land Use Code.
Ask to be added to the project mailing list and request a copy of the notice of decision. (Copies are sent via U.S. mail, s o please provide your mailing address when making request

For reference:

Here is the environmental checklist for the project:
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/facilities/BEXIII/Ingraham/2nd_revision_IngrahamSEPAChecklist.pdf
Here is the environmental policies and SEPA laws for Seattle:
http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?s1=25.05&s2=&S3=&Sect4=AND&l=20&Sect1=IMAGE&Sect3=PLURON&Sect5=CODE1&d=CODE&p=1&u=/%7Epublic/code1.htm&r=1&Sect6=HITOFF&f=G

see also

www.MajorityRules.org/blog – numerous posts
http://saveingrahamstrees.info/About_Us.html
http://www.saveseattlestrees.org/Ingraham.htm

Judge halts Tree Cutting near Ingraham High School – http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008112745_trees14m.html

Judge – Tree Cutting at Ingraham High needs city approval – http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008138212_trees26m.html

Thanks for your help!

Steve Zemke
Save the Trees – Seattle
stevezemke@msn.com
206-366-0811

Please call if you have questions.

Please forward this link to others who might respond. Thanks

PS. Save the Trees – Seattle still owes about $4000 to their attorneys. If you can help with a contribution it would be appreciated. Checks can be made out to “Save the Trees – Seattle” and sent to Save the Trees – Seattle, c/o Steve Zemke, 2131 N 132nd St, Seattle, WA 98133

Please note revised date for sending in comments. The current updated date is by Nov. 13, 2008.

Clearcut, massacre, slaughter, call it what you want, Saturday while I was driving down 5th Ave NE toward Northgate I suddenly came across the above scenes at 123rd NE and 5th Ave NE.

The pictures tell a story in one sense but it is also a part of a larger story that is re-occurring too often in Seattle. It’s not one we should see in Seattle in this day and age. Yet the remaining groves of trees in Seattle are threatened and disappearing under the bulldozer and chainsaw just like in the pictures above.The west tree grove at Ingraham High School is only on a temporary stay of execution as the Seattle School District has reapplied for its permits to build the same identical building as before in the exact same location. The open lawn area on the North side of the school, among other locations on the largest public high school campus in Seattle, could easily accommodate the new addition without any problem. But the Seattle School Board doesn’t get it and doesn’t care. They have forgotten that they serve at the pleasure of the voters and most voters want to save trees, especially when viable alternatives exist.

Waldo Woods in the Maple Leaf area is also facing the chain saw as proponents for saving the area recently lost their appeal before a Seattle Hearing Examiner. Faced with the only possibility being going to Superior Court, Waldo Woods supporters face the possibility of having to post a huge bond of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which even if they could raise, they would lose if they lose an appeal in Superior Court.

And now the mowing down of a greenbelt area in the Pinehurst Community. One lot cleared and 4 more to go. The 5th Ave NE lot appears to have been cut down illegally. After a Sunday press conference by Save the Trees – Seattle and checking with the City, it turns out that the owner never received approval of his building permit for a single family home or permission to log the area. A cease and desist order has been issued to the owner but the trees are gone.

As Seattle’s tree canopy and green habitat continues to diminish, tree by tree and grove by grove, Seattle becomes less and less an Emerald City. So where is the city in all this. Seattle has a terribly weak ordinance pertaining to protecting trees.

It’s main thrust has been trying to save “exceptional trees” but this definition is so restrictive that few trees get saved. And tree groves currently have no protection because the Seattle department of Planning and Development under Greg Nickels does not consider them as valuable habitat areas to be saved.

The Seattle City Council has directed the Director to re-interpret the Director’s Rule to follow what they say the original intent was – to save not just single trees but also groves of trees because of their habitat value.

The Seattle City Council is currently considering an ordinance to declare a moratorium on cutting down tree groves on vacant lots until a revision of Seattle’s Tree Ordinance can take place. Such a revision must include a more enlightened vision of saving more of Seattle’s threatened green heritage because Seattle’s current tree policies are not saving tree groves.

Save the Trees!

Threatened NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School

Save the Trees – Seattle, representing the neighbors and community around Ingraham High School, was granted a temporary restraining order on August 13, 2008 to halt the cutting of 68 trees in the West Grove. This action became necessary when the Seattle School District withdrew their construction permits, trying to avoid further environmental review of their project by the City of Seattle. They believed they could then just cut down the trees and then reapply for a new permit.

The Seattle School District wanted to prevent further judicial review by those who believe the trees don’t have to be cut. Save the Trees position is that the District can build the project on the open lawn area on the North side of the school without cutting down any large trees. We can have both the educational benefits of a renovated school and the environmental benefits of a healthy urban forest and park. It is not an either or situation but a choice to have both.

Save the Trees! needs to go back to court on August 25, 2008 to get a preliminary injunction to stop the tree cutting while the environmental appeal of the Seattle School District’s proposal is being heard in the King County Superior Court. The August 25, 2008 hearing will again be before Judge Erlickin the King County Superior Court and will start at 2 PM.

Save the Trees! needs your help to continue their battle. Neighbors and other supporters of Save the Trees in Seattle have already helped raise a $7500 bond or the trees would have been cut down. Now Save the Trees needs to raise another $25,000 to continue the legal battle.

If you want to see both trees and education coexist in our neighborhood and city, please copy the coupon below and send a generous check to Save the Trees!. Please include your e-mail so you we can keep you updated. Thanks for helping!

Send your check today to:

Save the Trees!
c/o Steve Zemke,
2131 N 132nd St,
Seattle, WA 98133

P.S. Please forward this post to your friends. The trees at Ingraham represent in a nutshell the crisis facing Seattle’s urban forests. If we can’t save the trees at Ingraham, what tree in Seattle is safe from the chainsaw? Seattle’s urban tree canopy has gone from 40% in 1972 to only 18% today. It’s time to preserve the remaining trees in our city, not keep cutting them down!

————————————————————————————————-

Yes we can have both education and trees at Ingraham High School! Here is my check to help pay for the legal battle to save the trees in the West Grove from the chainsaws and move the proposed addition to the North Lawn area.

I can help with [] $1000 [] $500 [] $250 [] $100 [] $50 [] $25 [] other $_______

Name __________________________________________ Phone (h) _______

Address ________________________________________ (w) __________

City _______________________State ______Zip _______ (cell) __________

e-mail (print clearly)___________________________________________

Send checks to Save the Trees!, c/o Steve Zemke, 2131 N 132nd St, Seattle, WA 98133
206-366-0811
Copy this coupon and send with your check. Thanks
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Recent news articles and blogs writing about saving the Ingraham trees:

Judge prohibits School District from cutting Ingraham High trees

Judge halts tree cutting near Ingraham High School

http://www.majorityrules.org/

http://saveingrahamstrees.info/

http://smarterneighbors.com/

Threatened NW Tree Grove at Ingraham High School

Special Appeal for fundraising Help from Save the Trees

Save the Trees won a two week TRO to stop the logging by the Seattle School District at Ingraham High School this Friday.This allows the case to be heard. Unfortunately the judge also put a financial burden on Save the Trees.

Things are moving forward having scored this underdog victory.

Save the trees won the Temporary Restraining Order when Judge Erlick agreed that the case would be mute if the trees are cut down. He also turned down the School District’s request for a $400,000 bond with the school district arguing that was the inflation cost of not being able to build the project. The Judge noted that with no MUP application pending and no timeline they had no project.

The Judge did somewhat buy the Seattle School District’s bogus contract that the School District signed with Weiss Trees to be used against Save the Trees. The Seattle School District signed a contract that paid them $33,000 for the trees with a penalty of $10,000 to $17,000 if the trees aren’t cut on Friday. It’s a contract Save the Tree’s Attorney Keith Scully of Gendler and Mann argued that no businessman would sign such onerous terms, noting that the issue of a pending lawsuit would also have prevented the trees being cut down.

Keith Scully argued well and got an initial $20,000 bond reduced to $7500. If Save the Trees does not post the bond by tomorrow they can’t stop the trees being cut down. If they lose the case they also lose the bond money. Some deal right.

As of the end of Wednesday night Save the Trees has received pledges of over 2/3 of the needed bond money – some $5500 of the $7500 needed.

Anyone reading this can help with a contribution to Save the Trees to come up with the bond money by e-mailing Steve Zemke at stevezemke@msn.com and pledge what you can send to help cover the rest of the bond. You can even deliver your pledge to Steve’s house Thursday. His address is 2131 N 132nd St one block off of Meridian N.

You can also call Steve at 206-366-0811 to make or leave a pledge. If he gets the money pledged and put in the mail, Save the Trees can cover the bond deadline.

But it is up to you. If you want Save the Trees to go forward, now is the time for you to step forward. If you don’t like the extortion tactics the Seattle School District is doing, respond with a pledge. They are trying to intimidate Save the Trees and neighbors to go away. This is all planned out on their part to crush Save the Trees and their right to judicial review. But we can fight back.

So dig deep and let Steve know what you can help with. Thanks

Send checks to:
Save the Trees
c/o Steve Zemke
2131 N 132nd St
Seattle, Wa98133

Judge blocks tree-cutting at Ingraham
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008111148_webtrees13m.html

Judge Prohibits School District from cutting Ingraham High Trees
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/374851_trees14.html

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