South Seattle Emerald (2022)

Editor’s Note: This is the third in our series of interviews with the candidates- 5 Democrats and 1 Republican- who are vying to replace retiring State Senator Adam Kline in the 37th District. The top two candidates chosen in the primary election- held on August 5th- will continue on to the general- which takes place on November 4th. The winner of which will represent the 37th District in the Washington State Senate. The 37th currently comprises almost the entire South Seattle area.

John Stafford has lived a life almost as diverse as the district he’s campaigning to represent. The one time Ivy Leaguer, Wall Street Maven, Tomato Truck Driver, and South Seattle Substitute Teacher has cast a wide net in his collection of experiences. It’s this breadth of knowledge and penchant for reinvention that the “every man” candidate- so called because he eschews the artificiality often identified with political aspirants- hopes to bring to the 37th District, transforming its economic and educational fortunes for the better.

Emerald: You have a very assorted background, going from the penthouse to the outhouse, in going from a high salary Fortune 500 consultant to a substitute teacher at some of the southend’s toughest schools. How do you think your diverse experiences would help you in representing the 37th district as its State Senator?

John Stafford: From a policy standpoint when a candidate is dealing with a range of issues such as how much to spend on roads, how to tax people, how to deal with the existence of non-profits within a community, how to deal with marijuana policy and violence, having an intellectual background -where you’ve studied these things and understand their interrelationships- in my opinion is extremely important because everything is so interlinked. The breadth of experience- where you’ve actually been involved in seeing these things play out in a tangible way rather than just reading or in an intellectual endeavors -is equally important, and I believe that I have both of those perspectives.

So taking that and extending it into the 37th district, where there are people from every conceivable background in this place -which is one of the things I love about it the 37th district- I think having a very broad background like I do, is very important for policy, very important to understanding people’s concerns and understanding the vastness of how policy plays out in real people’s lives.

Emerald: Your campaign has harped on economic growth. With South Seattle having the highest unemployment in the city, how would you make sure at the state level that a rising tide does indeed lift all boats, and the 37th experiences more economic vitality?

Stafford: That brings up a very important societal thing which is this notion of income equality. That’s not some sort of academic problem, that’s a very real problem and if that’s not addressed a lot of other endeavors are going to be undermined by not addressing it.

Taking education as one example, I support the McCleary funding. But, let’s just say that’s funded without income inequalities being addressed – you would have neighborhoods around the district, some very affluent, and some very poor, and you’d be embedding the achievement gap. That’s going to cause the achievement gap to persist even though you’ve put in funding, so my point is that in dealing with policy, you need to be addressing specific policy in such a way that starts to address the societal issues.

So for the McCleary decision for example, I advocate funding a considerable percentage of it from the repeal of corporate tax breaks which starts to deal with, a little bit, the income inequality. I would also favor a state income tax on high income earners, I don’t know how practical that is because it’s been defeated so many times, but the point is that there is an important connection on dealing with societal issues and policy issues at the same time, that’s key.

As far as near term job creation, things like the transportation package that’s coming up for a vote – and was passed by the (Washington State) house in the supplemental section but not the senate- are positive, as not only do they support infrastructure, which helps business in the long term, but they also provide economic stimulus in the short term. Some of the projects associated with that have a mildly favorable impact for the 37th district. For example SR 167/ I4105 interchange is slated to have considerable investment. That is in the southern part of the district but that would be positive for here. SR 509/SR 167 corridor has improvements which would also disproportionately help here.

Are these going to be huge deals? No, but by providing construction jobs and that sort of thing, there is some short term benefit. In dealing with job opportunities, it’s important to see the short term stimulus, and long term impact, and I have policies I favor that start to get at both. I’m also a supporter of the minimum wage, which isn’t a job of course, but once you do get a job it increases your livability.

I will say, that there aren’t magic bullets for jobs, because if there were everyone would know what it was and we would all do it. It’s a challenging thing, but if I had to elevate one thing I would say that it would be education. It’s better to approach job creation from a fundamental standpoint than a band-aid. Transportation is great but you really want to bring in everyone in society, get them with a vision, and education is a key part of that.

Emerald: Speaking of education, it is at the forefront of most voters minds in terms of ways to improve it for area youth. Is the answer vouchers? Charter schools? More testing? What policy do you favor?

Stafford: Vouchers I’m opposed. Charter schools, lets say opposed is on the far left and highly supportive is on the far right, with neutral being in the middle. I’d say that I’m slightly negative. So, I won’t spend one minute supporting or advocating for charter schools. On the other hand do I think that charter schools are going to destroy the public education system? No.

This notion of education choice is very, very interesting, and people are tempted in my opinion to drink down what they hear in terms of explanations all too quickly without thinking about them too carefully. So, let’s take this idea that there are failing schools, until recently they used to call Rainier Beach High School one, though I wouldn’t. But, when it was failing what was going on there? You had an unbelievably high percentage of people who had no money, and were on free or reduced lunch programs. They had every conceivable family life issue, which was largely a function of the nation’s history. I mean you can’t have slavery in a country for 200 years and then pretend that there’s not going to be after effects along with all odd the injustices that followed it. Socioeconomic differences are profound drivers of what happens in schools.

I go to Rainier Beach and I see one student a month with a violin. I go to Eckstein Middle School and I see everyone coming in with a trumpet case. It’s very, very sad. My point is, to call that a failing school, is very simplistic. We as a society are failing in terms of how we deal with income inequalities and in terms of how we deal with providing opportunities. Those are the core issues, so to come in after the fact without dealing with any of these issues and say that Rainier Beach is failing, and Eckstein is successful, is really a dangerous narrative.

So then why don’t we fix that with school choice? Well some of the more motivated students are going to choose to go to Eckstein and, candidly, if too many went, then the people who live in that community would say, “Jeez, we’re not sure we’re in favor of this policy.”How many people in that community are going to choose to come back to Rainier Beach? Very few. So, you end up eviscerating the Rainier Beach community even further.

One thing that’s proven successful is this notion of providing established track opportunities for students. I get students all the time who say I want to be an automotive mechanic, so why do I have to study Robespierre and the French Revolution? I can give them an answer to that, but on the same token I empathize that there are different people out there.

For instance, when someone wants to get a PhD in business, and someone wants to drive a bus, those are both wonderful things, and certainly we don’t want to go in and tell students, you’re going to do this or do that, it needs to be all their choice, but it makes a lot of sense to start having tracking opportunities for students, who say I want to go to technical college and have a high school experience that meets those needs. We should start to develop tracking coupled with increased counseling, something akin to the highly successful Rainier Scholars Program. We need to provide a little bit more support to kids so they can envision what they want to do and how that’s going to play out. That can lead to improvements in efficiency, productivity, student motivation, and all of that can happen with additional funding.

Emerald: You’ve been extremely open in your stance on Climate Change.That’s still a somewhat polarizing topic, especially at the local level where many ask, “How does that affect my daily life?” Why has the issue been such a prominent part of your campaign?

Stafford: It goes back to why am I running? I’m running to make an attempt to address things substantively and address and advocate for the key issues of our time, climate change being one of them. If they aren’t popular, and if they aren’t at the forefront of peoples minds, and it doesn’t connect up with what is clearly a big issue, then I’m willing to pay the price for that. That doesn’t mean that I want to pay the price. I want to try and convince people that they should care, but I’m not going to say: “Don’t worry about climate change, it’s okay!”

Let’s talk about climate change- 97% of scientists say that the sun comes down, heat reflects, and if you put too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere it traps the heat, which has big impacts on the ecosystem and the consequences are extremely devastating. When will these things occur? Is it 100%? Those are some issues for debate, but 97% of scientists agree.

So, I view the scientific debate as totally over. It has nothing to do with me. I remember interviewing with another paper and they asked, “What ‘s your views on Climate Change?” As if my views mattered. They don’t. I attend lectures, I read books, but do I have a PhD from Berkeley, with over 10 years in the field? Have I reviewed 30 articles? No. So, therefore given that this field has 30,000 equations that document everything, my views don’t matter, and neither does the editorial board of a paper. Scientist are telling us that this is a clear issue, with huge potential implications, so I would feel remiss as a candidate not to adopt it.

My proposal to deal with it at the state level is to implement a carbon tax – which a huge percentage of both economist and environmentalist support and that is normally impossible. The way it works is that you go to a gas station, you feel up your tank and there’s a sign on the pump. You’re paying 10 cents per gallon extra carbon tax to begin to address climate change. The idea is that you start thinking that: “There’s a little pain here, so maybe I should start looking for some other things.” The magic of it is that 10 cents you pay, comes right back to you. You lower your property tax rate, and your sales tax rate, so you don’t pay more. You pay basically the same. You start to focus your activities in such a way that aren’t carbon intensive, so unless you’re driving 2 gas guzzling SUVs, you don’t get penalized. It comes out being revenue neutral so it’s not even a tax. This has worked in British Columbia and Finland. I view it as an indicated solution.

Emerald: Public safety is the topic du jour in the South Seattle area. What would you do at the senate level to address issues of crime and violence?

Stafford: These issue need to be seen from a long term perspective that starts to address causes as well as from a short term measure. Education, again, becomes critical. Before and after school learning programs become critical in order to provide additional opportunities for youth to participate in meaningful ways. Minimum wage is also important as is expanding the affordable care act. So all of these things that start to build communities and deal with income inequality those are the key, and their needs to be a constant eye on addressing structural issues.

One also has to acknowledge and start to deal with things from a short term perspective. One is that the Seattle Police Department has had a long, troubled history with disproportionately dealing with minority groups, so that needs to be addressed. There is the Department of Justice agreement, that I do believe that the SPD should be compliant- as if you’re caught doing things wrong for long enough, then you shouldn’t then quibble with the details.

There’s a whole host of issues, community policing, neighborhood policing, having officers get out of their cars and spend time at community centers to forge ties, as opposed to driving around and arresting people. Am I an expert in police tactics? No, but I am familiar with the fact that there’s a whole world of strategic practices that can be considered and applied in an appropriate way.

(Video) Carolyn Bick | South Seattle Emerald | Myerberg investigation

I’m also a supporter of drug courts. Let’s say that we go out there and find someone who has x ounces of cocaine on them. Instead of saying we’re going to break up your family and send you to prison for five years, we adopt a different approach and establish a court that’s conjoined with an existing superior court. The defendant comes in and he is given an offer, he can either go to prison or he can agree to the following program: He goes to counseling for x number of times over the next year – we do need to find him not in position again because that would be flouting this opportunity – but he can stay with his family. It creates an opportunity and less incarceration. It becomes more appropriate when you look at the stats and the chances of an African- American with cocaine going to prison for drug possession is about twice as much as a Caucasian guilty of the exact same offense, so it starts to make a little bit of progress in that.

I’m also in favor of a host of gun control measures.

Emerald: If elected, what would you hope a constituent would be able to say about you once your time in office was over?

Stafford: That he approached his job from a totally substantive perspective. He developed meaningful proposals that could have major structural impacts on society. That he wasn’t a band- aid politician or a feel good politician. He wasn’t a, “I have 3 extra dollars for this program politician”, but that he was someone who looked at things from a structural standpoint and tried to have a reconfiguring impact. If someone said that about me I would etch it onto my tombstone.

Emerald: You’re extremely active around South Seattle. In addition to being a substitute teacher, you consult for area nonprofits, volunteer as an elementary school janitor, and umpire area baseball games. What do you love about the area and what are your favorite places?

Stafford: I adore South Seattle. First of all I love rough and tumble things. I love the rough and tumble spirit found here!

It’s hard to settle on just one place I love. I’m a golfer and a member of a local golf club, which is predominately African American. They set up weekly events all around the city, including at Jefferson Park Golf Club. I play there quite often. So, Jefferson and the golfing community at large, I love!

I adore Columbia City and I realized that there isn’t one restaurant I haven’t been to there. I also love the Royal Room. There’s a few times they allow me to actually play drums onstage. I love participating in the music scenes. I also love the area’s parks.

by Lola Peters

All my grapes have turned to raisins
All my plums are shriveled prunes
A four-lane highway lines my forehead
Bumps and pocks turn me to ruins

It’s not death that I find daunting
Not the end that looms ahead
It’s this daily dehydration
Sagging face and arms I dread

They don’t tell you when you’re thirty
As heads turn when you arrive
It won’t matter when you’re sixty
Some things you just can’t revive

The beauty and the ugly girl
Will wake up to betrayal
The genius and the brainless twit
Will have their projects fail

So glad I didn’t hesitate
To do what gave me joy
But now comes the adjustment
Like that gorgeous gift from Troy

I’m not the grand dame some envision
I’m not the vixen I still see
One of these days I’ll figure out
Who I’m now going to be

But in the here and now time
I’ll do all that I can
To be the woman I enjoy
While I carve out a plan.

Not the end.

At an event in Othello Park last Thursday, Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, Laird Norton Wealth Management, and local arts and business organizations collaborated to launch Pianos in the Parks, by unveiling an elaborately adorned vintage piano.

The Pianos in the Parks campaign placed 20 decorated pianos in parks around the greater Seattle area, including the southend’s own Othello Park and Rainier Beach Plaza, in hopes of encouraging residents to explore green and open spaces while enjoying each others’ art.

“We are delighted to host the pianos at our city parks, Seattle Center and City Hall plaza,” Mayor Murray said. “Pianos in the Parks will enliven our parks and engage communities through the power of art and music.”

“We are thrilled to host this positive and innovative way to bring more people into our parks and to listen to music for all to enjoy,” said Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The pianos were procured and donated by Classic Pianos and will be available in the parks until Aug. 17. Members of the public are invited to play the pianos and can upload videos of their park performances to the Pianos in the Parks Facebook page for a chance to play at KEXP’s and Seattle Center’s “Concerts at the Mural” on Friday, Aug. 22.

The Facebook entries that receive the highest number of “likes” will be judged by a community panel and a winner will be selected.

At the end of the campaign, the pianos will be sold to the highest bidder in an online auction on Proceeds from the pianos sales will benefit Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, Seattle Symphony, KEXP and Gage Academy of Art.

For more information about Pianos in the Parks scheduled activities, participating parks/open spaces and full contest information, please visit: To tag contest entries, pictures and experiences, use the hashtag #PianosintheParks and send your photos to @seattleparks on Twitter.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s “Find it, Fix it” Community Walk series, which focuses on several crime hotspots, will be making its way to Rainier Beach this upcoming Tuesday.

The walks – announced last month- have featured community residents, police, and city officials walking together to identify and find solutions to physical disorder.

The two walks already conducted have seen great success with a 40 percent rise in use of the Find It, Fix It application and identification, notification and action taken on graffiti removal, street lighting, litter and garbage clean-up, along with trimming overgrown bushes and trees.

(Video) South Seattle Emerald: Thank YouI!

Rainier Beach Find It, Fix It Community Walk

Tuesday, July 22, 7 – 9 p.m.

Rainier Beach Station Plaza

Martin Luther King Jr Way and S. Henderson St.

Meet in the plaza (Map)

Full itinerary can be viewed here

We’re stuck!

With all of the options out there to act on our ideals, we are mostly still just looking at 75 different ways we can react. Media and advocacy groups daily describe things that are going terribly wrong, which means most of us are lingering in the realm of what is. We look at things from the point of view of the status quo, then decide what choices we have. This can be a grim way to operate.

Another way to look at the world is through the lens of what would be ideal. Then we can begin to negotiate between the two, not just pushing against things we don’t like, but picturing what would make our lives better, and working methodically toward them. This is a more effective, powerful position to take, so I am mystified by why I don’t see more of it.

That is why I want to celebrate three of our city’s movement builders who are taking the time to craft a better world, strategizing for substantial, meaningful change.

  1. Take Back your Time starts with the question, “What do we need to live happy, healthy, satisfying lives?” The conclusion they come to is that most of us need more time for ourselves. This doesn’t seem like much, but in a culture where people humblebrag that they can’t get enough sleep because they are so busy, many people do not consider less work to be an impressive aspiration. Take Back your Time begs to differ. Here’s why we need more time. Sleep is not a luxury. Having time to cook real meals from scratch is not a luxury. Spending time with your kids is not a luxury. And taking time off is not a luxury. No matter who you are or what you do, we are social animals and we need to be with each other. We need to make the space in our minds and lives for growth, change, love, exploration, art, and a million other things that make us and keep us human. Take Back your Time strives to achieve this.
  2. Working Washington sprung from the rib of a union. Like other unions, Service Employees International Union was fighting a losing battle for decades. Systematic union busting was working. Membership was declining. But SEIU is different. They have a unique, visionary style. They engage in the usual ways of supporting their members, both negotiating with employers and helping to elect those who have the best interests of their members in mind. This is what collective power is all about. But they realized that to see more success, they were going to have to change the context of workers’ lives from the outside, and fight for a fair economy. Working Washington started with a listening campaign. They knocked on 10,000 doors in the South Seattle area and heard working people’s stories. What they found out was that SeaTac, the airport run by the Port of Seattle, which ostensibly works for us, was the source of poverty wage jobs—jobs that not so long ago had provided a good living to families in the area. That changed when the airlines subverted all collective bargaining had achieved, and subcontracted everything—baggage, fueling, concessions. Those contracts went to the lowest bidding companies. It was a race to the bottom for thousands. People were struggling to support their families, working two or three jobs, but still unable to escape poverty. So Working Washington first supported the workers in another attempt at bargaining. Cutting to the chase, the Port, Alaska Airlines, and the subcontractors all failed to negotiate, so the workers took their plight to the people with a visionary suggestion—people should be able to earn a living wage. The voters in the City of SeaTac won a historic $15 an hour minimum wage, showing that it is possible. At the same time, fast food workers sparked a movement in Seattle, winning the support of the City Council and the mayor. They won because they weren’t afraid to picture the world as it should be, and fight for that vision.
  3. Backbone Campaign is a national organization based on Vashon Island. Full disclosure: I’m serve as their board president. That is how I happen to know that they have begun the process of picturing what our area would look like with a robust rail transportation system. One way to derail (heh heh) the “jobs” argument for coal export through Washington is to invest in strategic rail transportation upgrades. Solutionary Rail envisions a revitalized, 21st century, sustainable, electrified rail system. Rather than posing a threat to world climate, as rail does using diesel and potentially carrying more fossil fuels, Solutionary Rail demonstrates how to meet transportation needs with vast reductions in carbon emissions. First, Electrify rail lines in the Northwest. Worldwide, about 50 percent of freight rail ton-miles are powered by electricity. This is energy efficient and a green job producer. Second, increase investment in rail infrastructure and track maintenance. Third, leverage electrification to build renewable generation such as wind farms, as well as transmission lines to deliver electricity. Fourth, move freight and passengers from roads to rail, which uses the rail lines to capacity, severely constricting room for coal and oil transport. Sustainable rail networks will provide a resilient foundation for locally-based economic activities that create wealth, stable employment, and prosperous communities.

These are real proposals created by serious people. The difference between them and much of the progressive left is that they offer something concrete to work on, instead of business as usual within the realm of what is, which more often than not leaves us grappling with impotent rage. Rather, these organizations and initiatives give us, the people, something to move toward, and a better future to look forward to. If these stories have a take-home message, it is this: Next time you are feeling beaten down by the news, or by emails from an advocacy organization, spend some time looking for the rare few who paint a vivid picture of the world that is possible, instead of bickering over the world that is.

Sandra Vanderven is a Community Organizer and Board President of the Backbone Campaign.

Events this weekend in the South Seattle area

Friday, July 18th

Community: Kubota Garden Forest Restoration Party from 10:00am-2:00pm @Kubota Gardens Natural Area 9817 55thh Ave South Seattle, WA 98118. More Info: email

Movies: Opening of Planes:Fire & Rescue, showtimes 11:00 am, 1:45pm, 4:30pm, 7:00pm and 9:15pm @ Ark Lodge Cinemas 4816 Rainier Avenue South Seattle , WA 98118. More Info:

Community: VFW Meat Raffle from 4 to 7pm @ Skyway VFW Hall 7421 S. 126th St Seattle, WA 98178. More Info: email

Community: Beacon Hill Meaningful Movies presents Migration is Beautiful @ The Garden House 2336 15th Ave South Seattle, WA 98144. film starts at 6:15pm and includes free admission and free popcorn. More Info:

Music: Box Set Duo show starts at 8900pm @ The Royal Room 5000 Rainier Avenue South Seattle 98118. More Info:

Saturday, July 19th

Community: Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands Work Party from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm @ 5513 S. Cloverdale St. Seattle, WA. More Info:

Music: 3 Barrios: Arte Flamenco Profoundo show starts at 9:00pm @ The Royal Room 5000 Rainier Avenue South Seattle 98118. More Info:

Movies: SeedArts Cinema presents Cinema Under The Stars: Lego Movie, showtime begins at 7:00 pm@ Columbia Park: 4721 Rainier Avenue, Seattle, WA 98118. More Info:

Sunday, July 20th

Community: Brunch at the Beachcomber from 10:00am to 12:30pm @ Beachcomber 12623 Renton Ave S Seattle, WA 98178. More Info: (206) 772-5183

Music: Garfield Jazz Jam, performance goes from 5:00 – 7:00pm @ The Royal Room 5000 Rainier Avenue South Seattle 981178. More Info:

If you have an event to post, please email

Long-time affordable housing, arts, and economic development nonprofit, Southeast Effective Development (SEED), announced today that it will be holding its 1st Annual Golf Tournament on August 15th.

(Video) South Seattle Emerald's Marcus Harrison Green (Full Episode) / Seattle Now

This year, the tournament will be raising funds to support SEEDArts. SEEDArts is a non-profit program of South East Effective Development and is the driving force behind the creation of SE Seattle’s two main arts/cultural facilities: the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, our region’s first performing arts center; and the Columbia City Gallery, a cooperative featuring the works of 30 local visual artists.

The SEED Golf Tournament will be held on August 15, 2014 at the beautiful Jefferson Golf Course with an 8:00 am shotgun start and lunch to follow.

The tournament format will be a 4-player team scramble. This will be a fun-filled affair for golfers and non-golfers alike while supporting a great cause.

The cost for this event is $150.00 per player which will include golf, lunch and tons of gifts and prizes. In addition there are many sponsorship categories that include playing spots and opportunities for advertising.

For more information contact Brian Remington of Golf Solutions, Tournament Director at (206) 432-9014 or

by Mary Hubert

Date: Circa Summer of 2006

What You More Than Likely Forced Upon Your Optic Nerves at Your Local Multiplex: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (Your eyes curse you as putrid vermin to this very day!)

What You Should Have Seen: The Films of Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future)


At home on a weekday evening with nothing to do? Feel like immersing yourself in a quirky film or two? That’s what I ended up doing this week with Miranda July’s films, which she manages to not only write and direct, but also star in. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I turned on the TV with relatively low expectations. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.

Me and You and Everyone We Know, July’s earlier work, features weird characters that don’t quite know how to handle themselves within their humdrum lives. These endearing deadbeats stem from July’s oddball sensibility of what people are like – each character is thought out with detail, complete with ticks, weird habits, and unintentional little idiosyncrasies. The theme is one of connections between people, which is reflected in the title. Every character, no matter how seemingly unrelated or tangential, is connected in some way – often whimsical, sometimes dark, maybe sexual, always entertaining.

The Future, a slice-of-life look into a mid-30s couple’s failing relationship and their impulsive decision to adopt a dying cat, is much darker – a counter to MAYAEWK’s shiny romanticism. The whimsy is there, but it is a darker whimsy. Breaks from reality run rampant, as the characters’ safe lives slowly disintegrate, and there is a certain dream-like quality as they navigate their new disintegrated world – only, finally, to return to reality when there is no other choice.

In both, July’s brand comes through with a punch. Awkward silences, punctuated by still-more awkward comments from the characters she plays, make us laugh and cringe simultaneously. The idea of taking an idea, a phrase, a word and running with it to the point where it is absurd is heavily utilized. In both flicks, July’s character struggles to prove herself artistically – with mixed results. And in both, mediocrity is celebrated, though the characters don’t share in this acceptance of their imperfections.

July paints pictures of slightly sad yet redeeming romantic relationships, of insightful children and childish adults, of tangents and puzzles that eventually resolve – or don’t. The primary difference? While MAYAEWK deals gleefully with a plethora of individuals, The Future dives into the demons kept by one isolated, floundering couple. Both stories, however, are mesmerizing.

The bottom line: July’s work – like July herself – is rather beautiful in all its glorious eccentricity. The Future is the nightmare counterpart to Me and You and Everyone We Knows lovely dream. Hilarious, dark and absurd, both are worthwhile – check ‘em out!

Mary Hubert is a performing artist, director, and arts administrator in the Seattle area. When not producing strange performance concoctions with her company, the Horse in Motion, she is wild about watching weird theater, whiskey, writing and weightlifting.

Community members celebrated the Skyway Library groundbreaking last Wednesday afternoon Wednesday, July 9. As the crowd gathered, 25 children from the Skyway Boys & Girls Club’s summer music program entertained the crowd with songs.

KCLS Interim Director Julie Acteson welcomed the community to the event to celebrate the start of construction for the new 8,000 square foot library.

“The new library will be within walking distance from the Boys & Girls Club, Dimmitt middle school and several elementary schools,” said King County Library System (KCLS) Interim Director Julie Acteson.

A number of dignitaries addressed the crowd, including KCLS Board Trustee Jessica Bonebright, Friends of Skyway Library President Theresa McLean, West Hill Community Association President Bill Bowden, King County Sheriff’s Office Captain Ted Boe and King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brian Barnes.

“We appreciate the voters in the community who supported this project,” said KCLS Board Trustee Jessica Bonebright. “This is going to be a great resource for the community.”

Project architect Matt Aalfs highlighted the design process, which incorporated input from the community. He said the new building will have almost twice the space, materials and computers.

“We tried to make a building that’s beautiful, that’s inspirational and it feels open and welcoming. We met with (community members) here,and thought a lot about the kids who live here who might need a place to go. We wanted them to feel comfortable and safe here, with whatever it is they need.” Aalfs said.

With gold shovels in hand, local dignitaries were joined by children with small shovels to break ground. “This Space is going to be great.” Said West Hill Community Association President Bill Bowden. “It’s just an awesome centerpiece for revitalizing the community!”

Special thanks to the King County Library System for assistance with this article

Editor’s Note: This is the second in our series of interviews with the candidates- 5 Democrats and 1 Republican- who are vying to replace retiring State Senator Adam Kline in the 37th District. The top two candidates chosen in the primary election- held on August 5th- will continue on to the general- which takes place on November 4th. The winner of which will represent the 37th District in the Washington State Senate. The 37th currently comprises almost the entire South Seattle area.

It’s enticingly easy to dismiss Rowland Martin’s candidacy to represent the 37th District as its State Senator. As the only Republican running in the deeply blue district – that has yet to come marginally close to sending anyone other than a Democrat to Olympia in the past 20 years- to say that the odds were heavily stacked against him would be an understatement’s understatement.

(Video) #TeamEmerald Celebrates South Seattle Emerald's 7th Anniversary!

However, unlike the majority of his predecessors who have attempted to wage a legitimate battle in the traditionally progressive stronghold, Martin is equipped with the belief that he can win. When taking into account that over 20 percent of the district self-identifies as conservative, the low voter turnout inherent in non-presidential year elections, and a throwback brand of republicanism that excuses itself from divisive social issues, while attending to economic growth and civil liberties – that belief may just prove warranted.

Emerald: Historically the 37th District has overwhelming supported Democrats at almost every level of government. Why did you decide to run as a Republican for State Senator? Many people, for lack of a better term, perceive any Republican candidacy in this race as a “fool’s errand.”

Rowland Martin: I think that there are a number of people who by their nature are more conservative. I think that we have an incredibly diverse community, politically as well as ethically. I was recently talking with a vietnamese man in the area – who was literally a boat person- and he asked me what party I was affiliated with and I said, “I’m a Republican.” He said, “Good! Otherwise I would’ve been really upset.” (laughter)

I talked to another man in Bryn Mawr last week. I came into his living room, and we spoke for a long time and he agreed with me on most of my points. I think that at the root there’s a lot of people who are conservative, and I just don’t think they’ve had anyone who can articulate a rational, conservative message in this district. I think that some headway can be made here. Maybe people look at me as the guy just trying to get the message out, but you have to start somewhere. I’m here to give people that alternative, let these so called progressives know, that not everyone is completely satisfied to the point of a no opposition district, and that message needs to be heard loudly.

Emerald: A lack of good, quality jobs is a huge concern amongst South Seattle residents, as its unemployment rate is higher than in any other portion of the city. If you were elected state senator how would you address that concern?

Martin: I would do my best to get rid of what I think are barriers to getting businesses started, along with barriers to young people entering professions, and what I think is a broken education system that doesn’t give them many initial opportunities. So, what specifically am I talking about?

I’m talking about a state that rejects new businesses, that agonizes over whether they’re going to allow coal or oil that’s brought here from a train, and is opposed to even shipping these things,. Right now the Panama Canal is being expanded, ships are already built, they’re going to be able to fit through this larger canal, and we already know that the amount of shipping traffic coming into Puget Sound is going to drop -because if you can ship it directly via boat to the large population centers along the East Coast or Europe, you’re not going to bring it into Seattle or Tacoma, and put it on a train and ship it across the country.

We just keep saying no, even to little neighborhood projects. There’s some little neighborhood project up by the Home Depot, where Sick’s Stadium used to be. For some reason, there seems to be controversy about building it. I look around at the businesses in that area, and a lot of it is in really old buildings – that frankly needs to be rejuvenated or torn down. We can’t keep making it hard to do that, by making permitting difficult, by agonizing over whether you’re going to change the character of a neighborhood, or going to tear down some building that is way out of date.

The other thing is, we are subsidizing really ineffective technologies with this green energy focus. Windmills, are not high tech. There’s some technology that obviously goes into the blades, but putting a generator on a pole to generate electricity, there’s a bunch of things wrong with it. Foremost being, your subsidizing tax dollars to pay for it and the ratio of energy produced to tax dollar subsidy is really bad, with wind energy.

You’re taking people’s money out of their pocket, to say: “We’re going to subsidize a few little jobs to do these technologies that aren’t efficient.” There’s a technology this state used to believe in, nuclear power, we need to start doing that again. I do believe that we should start subsidizing our energy production and distribution, because that’s the kind of thing that’s going to bring industry in and create jobs.

Emerald: This area has not sent a Republican to the State Senate in quite some time, and is associated with being a progressive area. That being the case, why should someone in the 37th, who traditionally votes left of center chose you to represent them?

Martin: I’d ask that person, how many decades have you voted for a Democrat? And then I’d ask, what’s their bottom line for their families and themselves? Democrats are telling you all these nice, wonderful things, but has any of it really been delivered to you? What’s your bottom line? Why are you continuing to listen to the same party? The same group for decades has been saying, “Oh! We’re going to solve all these problems,” and they’re not solving them.

What have they shown you? Why do you keep voting for the same thing? Why do you keep identifying with them? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. If you look at a chart of wealth disparity since 1947, it’s been the same straight line up to more disparity. It’s not been solid Republicans since 1947, and it doesn’t go dropping down when there’s a Democrat in charge of things. It’s the same trend, and they aren’t solving the issue.

You have to let people have more of their money. You have to have less crony capitalism, and you have to get the government out of the way. You also have to expect that people are going to have to make their own opportunities, and we’ve gotten away from that. Again I’d ask them what’s their bottom line? Are you really getting anything out of it, or is it just enough to barely get a place to live and have a television?

Emerald: Education is another prominent concern of area residents. Many people have been very vocal about the inadequacies of some South Seattle area schools. At the college level, you have many complaints about higher education becoming more and more cost prohibitive. How would you address this at the state level?

Martin: I’m going to say that I think it’s so bad that we’re going to have to start trying much more radical solutions. When I say radical, let’s go over the facts. Young men are faring worse now. Hooray for women getting the opportunities to go into careers. That is great, absolutely! But, you look around the world and where you have serious social problems is where you have young man who are not educated, not brought into the civic society, and don’t have opportunities. It’s going to be a really bad problem in our own area unless something really radical is done, so what is that?

I think that we’ve come this kind of credentialistic society – we focus a little too heavy on do you have a college degree or not? Frankly, a lot of degrees aren’t necessary. The figure is 45% of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed, many are working a job that they don’t need a degree for.

You have too many young people thinking that they have to go on this college track, and then they get into college and maybe they get a liberal arts degree- something that’s in high demand, and then they think, “Well maybe I have to get my master’s degree.” So that’s more time, and more debt, and they become stuck in this escalating battle, thinking that they have to get all this stuff before they’re worthy of getting a job, and I say no! This credential escalation has to end.

At the pre-college level, we used to take students who came out of High School and let them teach the younger students. They would look and they would say who’s the smartest kid who just came from our school, and they would put them to work as the teacher for the lower grades. They would eventually get better and better they’d move up. I think this allows students to relate better to their teachers as they’d be closer in age. You listen to your peers a little more.

I’m also supportive of a voucher system, as I think parents should be given some choice and variation of education. It would be much more cost effective than what people think. We currently spend $12,000 on each child, so for 20 kids that’s over a quarter of a million dollars. The max teacher salary is about 65,000- add in benefits and you’re at 100k, I think that you could find a teacher pretty easily for your voucher school at that kind of pay rate, and I don’t think it’s going to cost another $150,000 to find a class room to rent.

Emerald: As you’ve been branded the extreme underdog in the 37th District Senate race, you haven’t garnered the same level of media attention as many or your counterparts. What do you hope, besides being the only Republican in the race, that people identify you with?

Martin: I’d share that I’m not afraid of challenging the orthodoxy of opinion. I’ll state things as truthfully, and as accurately as I can see. I’m willing to compromise, but on the other hand I think that some better solutions than just more of the same are necessary. I think that people need to understand that I will articulate some new ideas and I think that I’ll be able to explain how those kinds of ideas will give them a better bottom line, which will lead to more individual liberty, and more choices in their lives. I’m practical, I’m pretty well read in American history. I know what kind of country we’ve been- in terms of growth and opportunity, and building wealth for every body who wants to put the time in.

Emerald:There’s been a lot of conversation, of late, in regards to our state’s tax structure. As many with lower incomes pay a higher percentage of their earnings in taxes than a more affluent person, such as Bill Gates, does. What would you do to fix that discrepancy?

Martin: I think I would say to people who think that, “Okay, my burden is relatively higher than someone else’s burden,” I would say to them, “You know, this mutual navel gazing about how much this person has, and how much that person has, was caused by having an income tax. So, we’re now all so focused on, is this person better off, is this group better off? We’ve gotta get out of that mode.

I’d also say that if you want to be a citizen, you should want to pay some, even if it’s not a large share. You should want to say that, “I paid some, and I’m participating as a citizen. The whole government service equation isn’t just flowing to me, but that some of my work does contribute to what should be, a minimal government.”

In terms of income disparity, it’s grown since we’ve implemented the income tax, it hasn’t shrunk, it’s gotten worse. The income tax resulted in a separate society, into people who are very wealthy and people who aren’t, and we’re starting to lose our middle class. The people who you hurt the most are the ones that are striving to get from the lower side of that equation to the higher side, and the thing is the very wealthy will always be able to use political power more effectively than the lower income people, the thing about the income tax is that it tends to wipe out the people who are trying to make that transition. You’re never able to get quite enough saved up to move into a place that you can focus on politics or public service. I would tell people that see that that this whole problem has been caused by the solution we put in place, that gets us all so focused on envy, and makes it hard to get to where we want to be.

Emerald: If elected, what would you want someone to be able to say about you at the end of your term?

Martin: That he at least did his best job to tell them the truth about what was going on, and that the information that he presented back to them was accurate and easy to understand, so that they’d know where the money was coming in and where it was going out.

Emerald: We’ll end with a softball. South Seattle is obviously known for its diversity, which extends to its restaurants. What is your favorite place to eat in South Seattle and why?

Martin: I absolutely love Maya’s in Rainier Beach. The food there is amazing. Whenever I want to take my wife out for a night, that’s the place I go to!


What is the South Seattle Emerald? ›

A community-focused nonprofit publication amplifying the authentic narratives of South Seattle.

Why do they call Seattle the Emerald? ›

Why was Seattle called the Emerald City? The Emerald City got its name because of the lush green forests that surround it. Seattle is known for having some of the most beautiful greenery in the world. Seattle became known as the Emerald City in 1982.

Is Seattle still called the Emerald City? ›

The City of Seattle has used "The Emerald City" as its official nickname since 1982. There is also a drink known as "Emerald City" that is associated with the city of Seattle. Eugene, Oregon is also referred to as the Emerald City, and the region has been known as the "Emerald Empire" as early as 1928.

What is Seattle nickname? ›

With all the lush forestry, it's no surprise Seattle garnered the nickname Emerald City, though it's also been known as "Rain City," "The Coffee Capital of the World" as well as "Jet City."

What is crosscut news? › is a nonprofit news website based in Seattle, Washington, United States. Its content is mainly news analysis rather than breaking news like other online newspapers or blogs. Type.

What is Seattle best known for? ›

Seattle is famous for Starbucks and overall coffee culture, grunge music scene, the Seahawks, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, headquarters of a lot of the tech industry (including both Amazon and Microsoft), hiking, kayaking, and general outdoors lifestyle (think REI).

When did Seattle become the Emerald City? ›

In 1982, the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitors Bureau adopts "The Emerald City" as an epithet for Seattle and incorporates it into a logo to promote tourism.

What lives below the Fremont Bridge in Seattle? ›

Since 1990, a troll has been living under the Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

Why is Seattle so Rainy? ›

The reason for this kind of weather is that Seattle is situated near the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The largest ocean on the planet brings a huge amount of moisture over to the state of Washington, carrying it over the Olympic Mountain range.

Why is Seattle called Rat city? ›

The population was 16,631 at the 2020 census. White Center is sometimes referred to by the nickname "Rat City" due to the historical presence of a military Relocation and Training Center during World War II. The Rat City Rollergirls are a Seattle roller derby team that began training in White Center.

What is the motto of Seattle? ›

City Motto

On July 16, 1990, the City Council passed Resolution 28207 designating Seattle The City of Goodwill.

Why do they call it the Big Easy? ›

"In the 1960s, New Orleans gossip columnist Betty Guillaud allegedly coined the moniker while comparing 'the Big Easy' to 'the Big Apple,'" Reader's Digest writer Juliana Labianca writes. While New Yorkers were perpetually running around, laid-back life in New Orleans reigned, hence, The Big Easy.

What's the name of the city that never sleeps? ›

Although New York City may be the most prominently recognized city termed "The City That Never Sleeps", and the city's subway system never closes, the term has been applied to other cities.

What is PBS crosscut? ›

From the need-to-know to the want-to-know, news highlights, interviews and more. From the need-to-know to the want-to-know, news highlights, interviews and more from Crosscut Now is a local public television program presented by KCTS 9.

What is meant by crosscutting? ›

Definition of crosscutting

: a technique especially in filmmaking of interweaving bits of two or more separate scenes.

What is a crosscut in mining? ›

(1) An underground mining excavation driven between two mine shafts or tunnels when a deposit of a useful mineral is opened. (2) The term given to operations designed to join two underground mining excavations with each other or to connect an excavation with the surface.

What food is Seattle famous for? ›

Shellfish is a Seattle staple, from the many places to slurp fantastically briny oysters to those that serve up geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”), an enormous, coveted clam that sometimes catches newcomers off guard with its odd appearance.

What dessert is Seattle known for? ›

Hot Cakes' Dark Decadence is the cake that started it all, originally sold at various farmers markets in the Seattle area, and it's the one you should order. This cake is made up of deep, velvety Theo chocolate and dry-burned caramel, served alongside vanilla ice cream that's topped with nib toffee.

What alcoholic drink is Seattle known for? ›

The classic “Old Pal” cocktail is Seattle's most popular rye drink now. The Enzo is a fruity riff on it, with Aperol liqueur, fresh-squeezed lemon and orange juice and rhubarb bitters.

What is Seattle known for historically? ›

Seattle is known for distinctive landmarks like the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture, a rich musical history — Jimi Hendrix and grunge were born there —, as well as for being the Coffee Capital of the World (or one of them).

Why is Seattle growing so fast? ›

Contributing to the city's revival was explosive job growth in this period, led by Amazon, which moved its headquarters to downtown's South Lake Union neighborhood in 2010. Over the course of the decade, Seattle's population grew by nearly 130,000, hitting 737,000.

Is Fremont Troll free? ›

1. The Fremont Troll is free to visit. 2. The Fremont Troll was created in 1990 by local designer/builder Steven Badanes, after he won an art competition run by the Fremont Arts Council.

What is the story behind the Fremont Troll? ›

The Fremont Troll was born out of an arts competition in 1989. Seattle had recently started the Neighborhood Matching Fund in an effort to give residents more decision-making power when it came to improvements and projects in their neighborhoods.

Can you walk across the Fremont Bridge Seattle? ›

Fremont Bridge

Walk across the drawbridge, which crosses over the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and head straight into the Center of the Universe, as Fremont likes to call itself. As you make your way across the span, take a peek over the side and you'll find a bevy of boats and kayaks wending their way underneath.

What is known as the Emerald City? ›

In 1982, the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitors Bureau adopts "The Emerald City" as an epithet for Seattle and incorporates it into a logo to promote tourism.

What is Emerald City based on? ›

Emerald City, NBC's new event series based on The Wizard of Oz (the movie and the original series of books), is beautiful.

What lives below the Fremont Bridge in Seattle? ›

Since 1990, a troll has been living under the Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

Why is Seattle called Rat city? ›

The population was 16,631 at the 2020 census. White Center is sometimes referred to by the nickname "Rat City" due to the historical presence of a military Relocation and Training Center during World War II. The Rat City Rollergirls are a Seattle roller derby team that began training in White Center.

How long has Seattle been called the Emerald City? ›

Seattle didn't always have the nickname Emerald City. According to the website, the nickname first came in 1981 from a contest hosted by the Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 1982, Emerald City's nickname was chosen from many contest entries as the new nickname for this city.

Where is Wizard of Oz based? ›

Dorothy is a young girl who lives in a one-room house in Kansas with the care-worn Uncle Henry and Aunt Em; the joy of her life is her dog, Toto. A sudden cyclone strikes, and, by the time Dorothy catches Toto, she is unable to reach the storm cellar.

Is Rapunzel in Emerald City? ›

Emerald City brings Rapunzel to the Apollo Theater stage. This quirky musical adaptation was written by the creators of the TV show, Friends. "I think that there is a great sense of FUN in Marta Kauffman and David Crane's adaptation.

Why is it called the Land of Oz? ›

According to the Oz books, it is a hidden fairyland cut off from the rest of the world by the Deadly Desert. A shorthand reference for a person living in Oz is "Ozite". The term appears in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, and The Emerald City of Oz.

Is Fremont Troll free? ›

1. The Fremont Troll is free to visit. 2. The Fremont Troll was created in 1990 by local designer/builder Steven Badanes, after he won an art competition run by the Fremont Arts Council.

What is the story behind the Fremont Troll? ›

The Fremont Troll was born out of an arts competition in 1989. Seattle had recently started the Neighborhood Matching Fund in an effort to give residents more decision-making power when it came to improvements and projects in their neighborhoods.

Can you walk across the Fremont Bridge Seattle? ›

Fremont Bridge

Walk across the drawbridge, which crosses over the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and head straight into the Center of the Universe, as Fremont likes to call itself. As you make your way across the span, take a peek over the side and you'll find a bevy of boats and kayaks wending their way underneath.

Is Seattle built on top of another city? ›

TIL downtown Seattle actually sits on top of the original city from the 1800s. It was rebuilt on top of ~20-foot high walled tunnels following a great fire, in order to prevent floods from high tide and sewage.

What is the motto of Seattle? ›

City Motto

On July 16, 1990, the City Council passed Resolution 28207 designating Seattle The City of Goodwill.


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