News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


City Council votes to expand staff; Debora Juarez chases NE 130th light rail station

April 28th, 2016 by Mike

Update: The Seattle Times has an editorial column on the gold-plated Seattle City Council.

Mentions The Pronto vote, too, in the fourth graph.


Eight of the nine Seattle City Council members voted this week to add an additional staffer per council member – potentially bringing their individual staffs to four each.

Only budget chair Tim Burgess, who said the cost will be an extra half-million dollars annually, voted “no.”

The rationale: Now that seven of the council members represent neighborhood districts, they actually have more work to do. Erica C. Barnett has a post: Council: Smaller Districts Require Larger Staffs.

From Seattle Council Insight’s piece here:

Council members Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez, who hold district-based positions (unlike Burgess whose seat is city-wide), were the vocal proponents for the change this afternoon….

Juarez, (who represents the vast majority of Maple Leaf), took the point further, claiming that when voters passed the initiative switching the Council to seven districts, it was because “the voters wanted someone to advocate for them, while keeping in mind the greater good of the city of Seattle.” She rattled off a long list of issues she and her staff have needed to deal with in their first 100 days on the job, saying “you can’t expect three people to be expert in all that.”

Burgess disagreed. From The Seattle Times:

Council members in similarly sized U.S. cities with district council members have only one to three aides, according to a 2014 report by the City Auditor, Burgess noted, mentioning Austin, Boston, Denver, Jacksonville, Fla., Oakland and San Francisco.

The Times story is here (including the information that in addition to council-member aides, the council is supported by more than 20 shared “central staff” policy analysts).

Meanwhile, Juarez continues to prioritize pushing for another light rail station at Northeast 130th Street.

In two separate emails yesterday she issued a “130th Street Station Call to Action.”

If we are going to see some an amendment to the Draft ST3 Plan we need you to write in and tell the Sound Transit leadership that we need a commitment to build the 130th Street Station!

I am not sitting around hoping there will be a change, I am out here pushing every button and looking for all the possible ways to get North Seattle what it needs.

She’ll be at the Sound Transit board meeting this afternoon, 1:30 at 401 S Jackson St., and wants you to be there, too.

Here’s her full post, including a suggested letter to send Sound Transit.

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Police, crime, north Seattle, Debora Juarez

April 24th, 2016 by Mike

After two shootings on Saturday, Seattle Police this weekend announced they are stepping up patrols using overtime and reassigned officers.

But not here.

The announcement, originally posted to Nextdoor, (where it had a mixed response), states:

Chief Kathleen O’Toole has directed the Seattle Police Operations and Investigations Bureaus to accelerate summer staffing deployment levels in an ongoing effort to deter and prevent gun violence. Starting tonight, Seattle residents can expect to see extra police officers in neighborhoods, nightlife districts and hotspots detailed in our SeaStat crime analysis reports.

(Credit to whoever runs SeaStat for this extremely un-Seattleish language.)

However, The Seattle Times has a story specifying the patrols will go  elsewhere.

The areas targeted include central Seattle, Second Avenue and Yesler Way, and South Seattle, Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in an interview Saturday. Both plainclothes and uniformed officers will be deployed in neighborhoods with shooting hot spots.

She noted that each precinct has its unique problems; the North Precinct has endured a rash of property crimes recently.

“We have made a lot of arrests and recovered a lot of property. Now in other neighborhoods, we are concerned about shots fired.”

The map shows property crimes reported to police in Maple Leaf since April 1.

Also in the Times, and speaking of north Seattle:

* Councilwoman Debora Juarez, elected to represent north Seattle, continues her quest for another light rail station at Northeast 130th Street.

I RAN for Seattle City Council because I was tired of North Seattle being ignored in citywide and regional matters….

The Northeast 130th Street station was given a “provisional” designation in the Sound Transit 3 draft plan, with zero guaranteed funding and no targeted completion date. All the ongoing community efforts came to a screeching halt. Once again, North Seattle was ignored.

Her op-ed in the Times is here.

* In today’s paper: “RAVE to Recology CleanScapes and Seattle Public Utilities for providing 50 Little Free Libraries to Lake City, Northgate, Pinehurst, Maple Leaf and Victory Heights as a reward for good recycling.”

Hang on a minute. We’re paying for this?


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New light rail taxes and Councilwoman Juarez

March 26th, 2016 by Mike

Update: Seattle Transit Blog has an overview here.

Speaking of transit; two things:

1) Sound Transit this week released preliminary proposals for a $50 billion expansion that would cost homeowners an average of $400 annually – apparently forever.

From The Seattle Times:

This fall’s Sound Transit 3 ballot measure would deliver light rail to Ballard as late as 22 years from now, while Everett would wait 25 years, under a draft the agency’s governing board issued Thursday.

Or Publicola:

The Sound Transit board stressed yesterday that there are some “early wins” to address immediate transportation needs (and presumably to get voters excited about something that’s happening sooner than your grandson’s bris) such as improvements on the Rapid Ride lines.

2) Meanwhile, Debora Juarez, the Seattle city councilwoman who represents almost all of Maple Leaf, criticized the proposal because it doesn’t prioritize a light rail station at Northeast 130th Street. (This is one of her top three priorities.)

The draft Sound Transit 3 proposal designates the potential boon of a NE 130th Street Station as a “provisional” project. This means that no funding is currently included in the package, and that the Sound Transit board would need to secure funding to make this station a reality. This is unacceptable.

Her full post is here.

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It’s here! New bus routes start now

March 25th, 2016 by Mike

Update: Here’s another shot at this from The Seattle Times.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things.”

Actually, no.

The time has come to note that bus service changes as the week ends.

Trying to talk about those changes is a thankless task.

Exhibit A: Comments on our last bus post. (See: “No clue.” Also, there’s a lot of good information in those comments.)

Exhibit B: This befuddling series of videos from Metro about the changes.

Fact is, there are enough changes that folks need to scowl at their own routes. Here is Metro’s site for changes beginning March 26nd.

Bottom line: Some bus routes that until now went downtown will instead go to Sound Transit’s newly opened University of Washington light rail station.

Is that good? Here, in the above comments, is Lisa’s report from Tuesday:

I tried a “dry run” today to see what it will entail to get from downtown to the corner of 85th and 15th NE by using the link light rail to transfer to the 73. Looks as if ST has worked its usual magic of making a 25 minute or so trip now take 45-50 minutes with a 1/3 mile walk included (this would be for riders taking the 73 from downtown)….

I’ve contacted Metro and Debora Juarez’s office’s office about this – neither have responded to email. This change is definitely for the worse …. I don’t know if we can get anywhere, but this is a real nightmare scenario with four buses (66, 68, 72, and 73) in our area being eliminated entirely and others reconfigured to connect at the UW station.

More positively, the Seattle Transit Blog has a piece here: ULink Bus Restructure Begins Saturday: More Service, More Transfers, Faster Trips.

Let’s not lose the sheer magnitude of Metro’s bus restructure, the largest in decades and one that will change tens of thousands of daily trips, mostly for the better.

The basic theme of the restructure, especially in NE Seattle, is higher frequency service paid for with a reliance on ULink and increased transfers. The ease and reliability of these transfers is an open question, and their success or failure will largely determine the public’s view of this restructure over time.

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Councilwoman Debora Juarez’s top three tasks

March 20th, 2016 by Mike

Debora Juarez,  the Seattle city councilwoman representing virtually all of Maple Leaf, has posted this guest column over at A lot accomplished in first 100 days.

Specifically three things:

In our first 100 days in office, we set out with three goals to deliver on the promise of district representation. First, we aspired to create momentum around the three major capital projects planned for our district. Second, we planned district tours of major enterprises in North Seattle. Third, we opened a district office, where our constituents could speak with my staff and myself without the need to travel downtown to City Hall.

The district office is at North Seattle College, College Center Building, Room 1451, though I can’t seem to find a link to it on her web site.

The capital projects are:

1) The new north police substation at Northeast 130th Street and Aurora Avenue North.

2) The oft-discussed pedestrian bridge between North Seattle College and the Northgate Transit Center. From the city’s web site:

With the passage of the Move Seattle Levy, the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge project has acquired full funding for the construction of the bridge. The project team will continue to refine the design of the bridge.

3) “Finally, I have been advocating for our district’s second light rail stop, slated for Northeast 130th Street and Interstate-5. This station would serve the Lake City, Bitter Lake and Haller Lake communities.”

There is no mention of Pronto, which surprisingly, continues to be a flash point over the city budget (see comments at link).

Her guest column is here. Juarez’s own blog features “Happy International Women’s Day.”

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What is Councilwoman Debora Juarez thinking?

March 14th, 2016 by Mike

Note that the original question – what went wrong with the March 1 vote? – remains.

The six City Council members sitting next to one another at this table on March 1 either could or couldn’t count to six.

Update: Councilwoman Juarez’s staff has sent me a statement (!). Here it is:

“After careful deliberation, today I voted yes on legislation which removed restrictions on $1.4 million of $5 million previously budgeted for the Pronto system by council vote in November of 2015. Today’s action allowed the Executive to purchase the bike share system’s assets from Pronto.

Had this proposal failed, the city would have been obligated to repay $1 million in federal grant money and the three thousand yearly members of our bike share system would be left without a service they paid into.

The introduction of the Pronto bike share system in Seattle has faced serious problems since its launch in October 2014. I share the concerns of Seattleites who look at our major challenges citywide and debate whether money should be spent on a program that has so far not lived up to expectations. This is why I also voted for the successful amendments to the final ordinance that significantly increase council oversight and accountability for this program.

I am looking forward to enhancing the transparency, service area equity, and overall vision of bike share in Seattle. Today’s action gives us the best chance at achieving this goal.”

– Councilmember Debora Juarez, March 14, 2016

Update: She voted “yes” to save Pronto. The full council voted 7-2 in favor, with Maple Leaf’s other councilman, Rob Johnson, also voting yes. Opposed were Lisa Herbold (west Seattle/South Park) and Tim Burgess (at large).


On the first day of the month a Seattle City Council committee deadlocked 3-3 on bailing out the failing Pronto bike rental service.

Except it didn’t.

The record now reads that newly elected Councilwoman Debora Juarez, who represents north Seattle including virtually all of Maple Leaf,  actually voted to save the system.

That was not the vote announced at the meeting and heard by the six council members present, and by support staff.

What happened?

A week ago today, on Monday, March 7,  we emailed Juarez’s legislative assistant, BrynDel Swift (, to ask.

We’re following the Pronto vote and I’ve been keeping an eye out for Councilwoman Juarez’s statement on her vote last Tuesday. Somehow I’ve missed it, but am quite interested. Can you provide? Thanks.

No answer.

So two days later on Wednesday, March 9th, we forwarded the email to the rest of her staff, Mercedes Elizalde (, Tyler Emsky ( , Sabrina Bolieu (, and to Juarez herself (

No answer. And we haven’t seen it answered elsewhere, either. (Except, kind of, here.)

Our earlier post on Pronto, including updated links to other news organizations’ stories, is here.

In comments there, and elsewhere, Pronto seems to have become a stand-in for how the city prioritizes its spending.

An example: In Danny Westneat’s Seattle Times column last week on a Greenwood food bank closing for lack of city funding, one commentator wrote:

Explain how the city has millions of dollars to spend on a bloated failed bike share program which most citizens don’t want or use while this needed food bank program is shut down. Misguided priorities and lack of common sense.

And another:

OK Debora Juarez: Here’s where you show you’re the adult in the room. Instead of voting yes on that losing proposition Pronto how about using those funds to keep this food bank going? Things like food banks are important. Pronto is just a Murray dream that ends up being a nightmare for everyone else. I had great hopes for you when I cast my ballot for you but now I’m not so sure. So far all I’ve seen from you is more of the same council we had before the election.

The full City Council vote on Pronto is set for this afternoon.

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Community crime meeting, Debora Juarez walking tour

February 17th, 2016 by Mike

A community meeting on crime in north Seattle has been called by a church just off North Northgate Way.

“Averi Norgaard of Epic Life Church  is inviting the church’s neighbors to join their congregation to start the conversation on how to reclaim their sense of safety. They also want to work with the city to bring the crime rate down.”

The full story from KOMO is here.

The church is at 10510 Stone Ave. N. The meeting is Sunday, Feb. 21, from 6-8 p.m.

On Friday, new Seattle City Councilwoman Debora is planning a walking tour of part of her Fifth District.

The tour is planned for Feb. 19th from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

It begins from 10-11:30 a.m. at Northaven senior living, 11045 Eighth Avenue N.E.

From 1:30  2:30 p.m. it moves to North Helpline, 12736 33rd Ave. N.E.

Continuing from 3-4 p.m. at Mary’s Place, 1155 N. 130th St.

And ending from 4:30-6:30 p.m. with a reception at The Shanty Tavern (?), 9002 Lake City Way N.E.

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Two news pieces – Councilwoman Debora Juarez and Thornton Creek (plus coyote)

January 13th, 2016 by Mike

Now that the new district-by-district Seattle City Council is sworn in, Crosscut has a piece today on Debora Juarez, the councilwoman representing north Seattle including Maple Leaf.

Headlined “Street-level politics come to Seattle, led by Debora Juarez,” it begins:

“Rule number one: Don’t call District 5 “Seattle’s Canada,” at least not to new Councilmember Debora Juarez’s face.

Read the full story here.

It notes Juarez’s top priorities locally – “Three major capital projects for District 5: the North Precinct Police Station, the Northgate bike and pedestrian bridge and securing funding for a second light rail stop on Northeast 130th Street.”

Meanwhile, our news partner The Seattle Times this week published a look at our own primary stream: “Thornton Creek gets a makeover from the ground up.”

It’s a bit of a slog (which is why it took two days to read – the “so-called hyporheic zone” is in the third sentence) but interesting. The gist is that Seattle Public Utilities is testing treating Thornton Creek like the Cedar River.

Our drinking water comes in part from the Cedar drainage, whereas Thornton for decades has resembled more of a storm water/sewer drain.

One of the test areas is in Maple Leaf, the renamed Kingfisher Natural Area.

And besides, it gives us the opportunity to highlight this video the Thornton Creek Alliance posted to our Facebook page last week. It’s of a coyote yipping in the Kingfisher Natural Area.

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