In an attempt to encourage developers to build more affordable housing for middle-income workers, Mayor Greg Nickels has released a revamped version of Seattle's tax exemption program, which builders say has never "penciled out."

The current program wasn't scheduled to sunset until 2009, but the rental market has changed drastically enough to render it practically useless, said Rick Hooper, policy director for the city's Office of Housing.


Failure to plan in advance on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

A sign posted in many government offices.

The dual problem of homelessness and an affordable housing shortage is real-especially in King County.

Conservatives and liberals alike can agree on this.

In fact, many of us are not far removed from a personal housing crisis should circumstances change abruptly in our lives.

Where conservatives part ways with liberals is not in compassion for these poor among us, but in how to solve the problem logically and effec


Candidates for Seattle School Board positions that cover Ballard told the community last week what they would do to restore confidence in the public school system and unite an often divided board.

Candidates from each of the four open School Board positions came to meet community members one-on-one before a moderated forum held at Pathfinder K-8 Alternative School in West Seattle.

Just two candidates, incumbent Sally Soriano and Peter Maier, are running for District 1.


SCHOOL BOARD FORUM. Candidates for Seattle School Board positions spoke to the crowd of community members last week outside of Pathfinder school. Leslie Harris photo.

Accomplished female writers from around the region and waited excitedly, clasping glasses of white wine and lemon water, to hear journalist, author and women's rights activist Gloria Steinem read excerpts from her memoir that's been 10 years in the making.

Steinem has spent the summer working on her book at a women's writing retreat, Hedgebrook.


VISITING WITH GLORIA. With Gloria Steinem are Shad Reinstein, left, and Jody Laine, of Phinney Ridge. Steinem once interviewed Reinstein for an article. Steve Shay photo.

Local non-profit Sustainable Ballard celebrated its fourth birthday recently by reviewing several energy and environmental successes of the past state legislative session.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, was the key speaker at the event held at the Sunset Hill Community Club.


At Large in Ballard by Peggy Sturdivant

"Create a link in our Chain of Connections," read the flyer next to the basket of Sharpies outside the Ballard Market. An employee at the table by the shopping carts further explained that in honor of Town & Country's 50th anniversary (Bainbridge location, not Ballard) all six stores were inviting customers to decorate a rectangle of canvas to become part of a chain.

I was struck by the cleverness, using actual linked fabric to symbolize the chain of connections, while also celebrating a small chain of local, independent markets.


THE LINK. Catherine Sweeney and daughters Amelia and Carline Wynne create a link at the Ballard Market. Peggy Sturdivant photo.

Incoming freshmen at Seattle Pacific University will be available for volunteer work in the Ballard community on September 22 as part of the school's CityQuest program.

"The main purpose is the get students involved in a service activity," said CityQuest Coordinator Jennifer Sampson.

Seattle Pacific University's CityQuest has a mission is to engage the culture and change the world.


Moments before 1 o'clock on a recent school day - the exact moment when the bank was reviewing the loan application of the Community School of West Seattle - director Sarah Airhart spoke to the whole school, asking the students to shut their eyes.

"I asked them to shut their eyes and to think happy money thoughts," Airhart recalls.

For anyone who knows the Community School well, the result was typically empowering.


SCHOOL AUCTION. Sara Airhart, head director of the Community School of West Seattle, auctions off many items to raise money for the school in a humorous and light-hearted manner. This year's auction theme was 'Around the World,' in which the top bid went for a pair of tickets for a 10-day Galapagos Islands cruise. Photo by Yunie Kim.

Building permits for 1,550 new residential units in Ballard have been issued in the past 18 months by Seattle's Department of Planning and Development, and there's more to come.

Much of that development has been in the form of condominiums and town homes.

According to Gunnar Hadley, a realtor with Ballard Windermere, 60 percent of everything sold here for the first five months of the year were condominiums and town homes. Hadley, who specializes in condo sales, called that an "impressive" statistic.

"That's truly crazy," he said.


BUILDING PERMITS 1,550 building permits are just the beginning of a wave of housing development in Ballard. For a downloadable file of this map (3.6 MB file).

There's still time to purchase tickets at the door of Federal Way's most lively and lavish event of the year, the FUSION gala and Dumas Bay. The event takes place at the Dumas Bay Center at 3200 Southwest Dash Point Road, and begins at 3 p.m.

FUSION (Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed and Needy) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded in 1993.

Over the past 14 years, the group has raised enough money to purchase and furnish nine housing units around the city.


Kim and Ken Schiewetz danced to the music of Bonnie and Nick at last year's FUSION gala at Dumas Bay Park last Wednesday. Over the past 14 years, FUSION has raised enough money to purchase and furnish ten housing units around the city that provide temporary shelter for families in need of housing.

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