SeaTac Council approves human service grants; alters Angle Lake boat practices
By Jack Mayne
The SeaTac City Council on Tuesday (Jan. 24) reviewed four of 39 human services organizations that requested city funds for the year but only after the mayor said that the agencies not yet approved were sloppy in preparing their applications.
“We should throw (the money) back to the Human Services Advisory Committee, they should make some recommendations where it should go and it should go to places that provide direct need and services to our community,” Mayor Michael Siefkes told the Council.
Help more than women
The Council reviewed an $8,000 grant for 2017 by the Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Employment for Women (ANEW), a new organization that says it prepares women for what it says are meaningful full-time careers.
Mayor Siefkes said that all of the four selected agencies “do some good, the question is in our limited resources as a city, do we want to use our limited resources on this one or any of the other three.”
He said ANEW helped only women and there are many needs in the city such as food banks, transient issues, all sorts of issues and “we should go back to the drawing board.”
But Councilmember Kathryn Campbell said she “had to correct the mayor on his statement on ANEW only helps women.”
Parks, Community Programs and Services Director Lawrence Ellis said the ANEW application did say that it helps both men and women.
Deputy Mayor Pam Fernald said these agencies had been approved under the standards of the previous Council and she felt they should “go ahead” as the present Council redirects its priorities.
ANEW was approved for financing on a 4 to 3 vote. Mayor Siefkes joined Councilmembers Forschler and Sitterley in “no” votes.
Councilmember Tony Anderson said another 35 or so agencies are getting city grants and the four before the Council were just the remainder of the applicants.
Besides ANEW, there were applications from Para Los Niños, Global to Local South and King Council of Human Services.
“These (four groups) are just a small part of our total effort to address human services in SeaTac,” Anderson said.
Councilmember Rick Forschler said some deficiencies and a lack of city priorities should result in not granting these applications this year.
Anderson said the Human Services Committee did evaluate the four and they should not be penalized because of Council concerns now.
Fernald said the four were pulled out because of questions, which were answered, and they should “go through this time.”
Para Los Niños, seeking $9,000, will get the money in 2017 after an affirmative vote of 4 to 3, but the Global to Local charity had its $16,000 request denied 5-2.
During discussion Siefkes said Global to Local, “is so disconnected from the immediate needs of our community.”
He said not giving the group the requested $16,000 for the year would not have any great effect on the community.
Some said that the Council in the past always approved the committee recommendations.
“Maybe this Council is different,” Sitterley said. “Maybe it is a different time, a different community – we have different needs. Ultimately, it is the Councilmembers who have been elected to steward the tax dollars – and I think that has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle here.”
Fernald told the Council she still believes it is not right to change the process for the allocations in “the middle of the stream,” but perhaps it is right to make decisions on individual groups.
Group opposes Council
The request was for $8,000 by the South King Council of Human Services’ and its website says its mission is to “create a human services system in South King County that is inclusive, integrated and easy to access, respectful of cultural and linguistic differences, and that fosters social support.”
Councilmember Kathryn Campbell supported the request and said, “Our $8,000 makes a big difference.”
The mayor said the city is a member of the council and pays dues for that membership and the $8,000 grant “would be on top of all that.”
Some of their email comments disturb Siefkes, noting “they are basically trying to organize the community against this Council at the same time asking for money from this Council.”
The mayor said the South King Council of Human Services has a city employee “who is on their board of directors – if there is not a direct inference of favoritism there, I don’t know what is,” and said he cannot be comfortable with the conflict of interest.
Councilmember Anderson said how the South King Council of Human Services feels about a member of the SeaTac City Council should not affect how the request is handled and said he would vote for the grant.
The Council rejected the $8,000 grant on a 4 to 3 vote.
Angle Lake boat practice
Angle Lake resident Clyde Hill told the SeaTac Council that he was not convinced that requested rescue boat training should be allowed on the lake 24 times a year, noting there was concern for the wave the fireboats would create and the concern for shore erosion.
Later the Council had the proposal changed to allow fireboat operator training one a month, not twice a month.
Hill said he was concerned about the speed of the hydroplane boats, but they were limited to one race per year.
“Fire boat training is proposed to operate at a far more frequent schedule under no specific circumstances, operating in a boat not significantly different from any other visiting boat on the lake therefore the concern is that the exception will become – if it is OK for them, its OK for me as well, or my jet ski or pulling a skier or pulling a raft or whatnot.
Hill said the Council should challenge these claims and look at the need for allowing these events on Angle Lake.
During the Council’s study session, an ordinance to modify “certain boating regulations” on the lake involving Hill’s concerns about fireboat training was addressed by Parks Director Larry Ellis and Assistant Fire Chief Brian Wiwel of the newly renamed Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority. It used to be the Kent Regional fire department.
Wiwel said the current training is at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park at the southeast corner of Lake Washington. That means the water rescue personnel do not get training on the lake for which they are responsible and that going to Lake Washington takes the unit away from their coverage area.
There has been a rescue boat on Angle Lake since 2008 and is not kept at the lake, but at the fire station at 3011 S 200th St. Fire officials admitted on question from Mayor Michael Siefkes that not having the boat on the lake “does make a difference.”
Siefkes said the once a year boat races was one thing, but training twice a month is more of an impact, referring to Hill’s earlier comments. Wiwel said that it might be less since there was little interest in training on the lake in winter months.
Peter Kwon said that during his conversations in advance of the first hydro races, he was surprised that people supported the races but were concerned by the rescue practices.
David McFadden, the Port of Seattle’s new economic development division managing director, briefed the Council on the “applicability” to the city of the Port’s new “real estate strategic plan.”
He said there were growth in all areas of the port’ business, including a 10 percent growth in passengers, 15 percent increase in domestic freight service and 984,000 people came through the airport to take cruise ship cruises.
The port spent about 30 percent of its capital budget with small businesses in 2016, McFadden said.
Kingen case mentioned
In regard to a reaction to the recent lawsuit involving Gerry Kingen, Scorcio said they are aware of “statements made by a former employee claiming that she was fired because she did not comply with a request to violate the state’s public records act.
“Since this former employee has due process under the city’s collective bargaining agreement, the city administration and the Council cannot discuss the specific details of this (former) employee’s claim at this time and I would request patience before reaching conclusions on newspaper reports or legal motions filed by any party currently litigating with the city and the city does fully intend to comply with the court’s orders for additional depositions.”
The employee was listed in court documents that she resigned and later wanted to recant. She had claimed in an advertisement paid for by Kingen in the Highline Times newspaper that she was asked to destroy public documents in relation to the case.
Sources say she was never asked to destroy any records or any other documents in relation to the K&S lawsuit. The matter is ongoing.
See expense accounts online
All City Council expenditures reimbursed to individual members for 2016 and now posted on the City’s website, said Acting City Manager Joe Scorcio, and those reimbursed expenditures in the future will be posed on the website quarterly.
Scorcio said also that there is a survey on the website for its improvement. It can be accessed at the city manager’s update and at http://www.ci.seatac.wa.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=14093