Just “emailing notes to herself”
In emails to constituents and the media, CM Johnson says that his staffers are not providing material support to Safe 35th:
“Safe 35th is a community organization; it was not created by my office. Like many community groups, they reached out and had discussions with the me and my staff about their goals and objectives. My staff and I regularly meet with constituents and community organizations representing a variety of viewpoints. The email referenced was a staff member emailing notes to herself about the project.”
Well sure, that would settle it if it weren’t for the fact that (1) we don’t believe much of what he says these days, and (2) last week we received an additional 1,557 pages of emails from City Hall through a public records request.
About 216 of those pages were emails from D4 constituents emailing to complain about the bike lane proposal. The balance of just a couple months of emails – 1,341 email pages to be exact – were most definitely not “just notes” from Johnson’s legislative aide Geri Morris, “to herself."
In fact, as part of the 12-person “Safe 35th group” formed in February 2018, Ms. Morris and another Johnson aide were in regular email communication with the Seattle policy director of Cascade Bike Club, the president of Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, and local cycling advocates, hatching plans on how best to counter overwhelming community opposition to the bike lane proposal.
Blithely unaware that their emails were part of the public record, Johnson’s staff helped develop a communication strategy and communication materials—even plans to graffiti 35th Ave itself; met to review accident data to present to the Mayor’s Office (deciding to include property damage collisions because injury data was scant); worked to schedule a presentation with the Mayor; and more.
And among those emails are many denigrating, ableist and ageist comments about our neighbors. Those public records are not exactly a portrait of innocent or well-meaning chit-chat.
We’re organizing these and newly received emails for public release. Stay tuned.
Seattle Times: “The $930 million Move Seattle levy shortfalls are clearer, but the solutions aren’t”
Recommended reading. Highlights:
“The oversight committee also knocked SDOT for doing a poor job estimating how much projects would cost — ‘it remains unclear whether staff behind these estimates knew this at the outset,’ the committee wrote — and for ignoring the future costs of a federal lawsuit against the city.”
“Just before voters approved Move Seattle in 2015, three men sued the city, alleging it was failing to build enough sidewalk curb ramps, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city settled that lawsuit last year, agreeing to significantly increase its curb ramp construction, and [former SDOT director] Kubly said at the time that those costs were factored into the levy’s projects. They were not.”
Perhaps the city will also recognize that redundant and unwanted bike lanes are an opportunity to save taxpayer dollars and apply them to projects that serve a greater number of Seattle residents of all ages and abilities. Read the story.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Petition Drive - Save 35th Ave NE, Save Our Neighborhood
This past Sunday at the Wedgwood Auto Show, we gathered 120 addition signatures to our petition – just by standing in place! Signature gathering can be that easy.
We now have 4,431 signatures - let’s get to 5,000 before summer is out!
Make sure you have signed the petition – right here.
Forward this newsletter to your neighbors, urging them to sign the petition if they haven’t yet.
Help gather signatures
Let us provide you a petition toolkit you can use at Labor Day gatherings, PTSA meetings and fall school events. The toolkit includes a petition file to download and print and a sign/poster you can carry/set-up to attract attention. Contact us at email@example.com. Remember, you can always open your iPad, laptop or smartphone to this link and have your neighbors sign up immediately.
Contact Mayor Jenny Durkan
If you haven’t taken a few minutes to write or email the Mayor, now is the time. Or, use this link to send a pre-addressed email to the Mayor, city council and SDOT staff. In the final analysis, SDOT reports to the Mayor of Seattle. Mayor Durkan halted work on the First Avenue streetcar project. She can also unilaterally stop the bike lanes proposed for 35th Ave. NE.
Upcoming Events – Stay engaged
There are numerous meetings happening right after Labor Day, be sure to mark your calendar if you are interested in attending any of them.
Ravenna-Bryant Community Association Board Meeting: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 @ 6:30 PM, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, 6535 Ravenna Avenue NE.
City Council Meeting: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 @ 2 PM - City Council returns after a two-week recess. City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, Second Floor You can also watch online or on TV
Wallingford Community Council: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 @ 7 PM, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. Great opportunity to witness a high-functioning community council at work.
Northeast District Council: Thursday, September 6, 2018 @7 PM, Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE.