Economy

The Body Bar Day Spa in West Seattle will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on Saturday, May 2, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Ingraham High School’s Drum Line will kick-off the festivities by marching from the Alaska Junction North four blocks to the Body Bar’s location. Following this performance, The Body Bar’s fleet of seven massage therapists will be performing complimentary chair massage on the sidewalk.

Inside the spa, estheticians will be busy waxing eyebrows and applying makeup. The first 40 guests through the door will receive a $25 Body Bar gift card.

Food and libation will be provided by some of West Seattle’s most renowned restaurants including: West 5, Talarico’s, Seattle Fish Company, The Sugar Rush Baking Company, Hotwire coffee and Silver City Brewing Company. Music will be performed by local artists, Henta and Marias.

04/27/2009

(Editor's note: The following article appears originally in Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess' newsletter "City View.")

Stopping Youth Violence

Last week I sat down with four young people in a medical school classroom at the University of Washington for a discussion about youth violence, a pressing and continuing challenge in our city.  Just before our meeting, the room had been used for a class on cardiology, apropos for a discussion about the heartbreaking reality of street violence involving our children.

Each of the young “reporters”—three men and one woman—described their own histories with violence. Listening for about 90 minutes to these good people was extremely informative. They chose to be vulnerable and their comments were raw, tragic, and piercing; I’d like to share a few of the more poignant comments from my notes.  I’ve blended statements from all four of the youth to provide a sense of the breadth and impact of their personal experiences.

04/21/2009

Mayor Greg Nickels had laid out his plans to cut $13.3 million from the city’s 2009 general fund budget, while preserving funding for public safety and direct human services.

“As we make difficult budget decisions, my priority is maintaining our core services for public safety and people in need,” said Nickels in a statement released Friday, April 17. “These budget actions will keep our city in a solid financial position to deal with the ongoing national recession.”

With declining revenue from sales taxes and business and occupation taxes, the latest forecast projects $29.5 million less in revenue in the city’s general fund for 2009, compared to last year’s estimate.

Anticipating revenues would be lower because of the national economic recession, the mayor instituted a series of cost-cutting measures in the fourth quarter of 2008. Even though final revenues were $13 million less than expected for the year, the city finished 2008 with a positive balance of $19 million. That is carried over to offset lower revenues this year.

04/17/2009

On April 25, merchants in the West Seattle Junction will offer their customers some financial relief by offering special promotions and discounts and charging no sales tax.

Coupons for April 25 are available to download at the West Seattle Junction Association's Web site. Special offers include: Buy one get one free tickets at ArtsWest, 1/3 off any full priced item at Capers, $1 off any loaf of bread from Great Harvest Bread Company, free coffee at Red Cup Espresso if you bring your own cup and much more.

The event was designed to stimulate West Seattle's local retail economy, the West Seattle Junction Association claims it has no affiliation to the political Tea Party protests on April 15.

04/17/2009
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Photo credit: 
Courtesy the Junction Association

Tax-free day in the West Seattle Junction April 25.

Ballard Care and Rehabilitation Nursing Home is taking action after a proposed state budget cut recently announced in Olympia could mean a drop of as much as $800,000 for Ballard Care alone.

The nursing home is proposing to the legislature an adoption of a quality maintenance fee that would then be matched by federal funds and can be returned to skilled nursing facilities in the form of an add-on to their current rates.

State lawmakers have proposed more than $90 million in Medicaid nursing home cuts over already reduced reimbursement levels across Washington state.

“The nursing facilities are lagging far behind the current rate of inflation, “ said Angie Davis, administrator of Ballard Care and Rehabilitation Center. “We suffer regularly from high cost of food, medical supplies, insurance for caregivers, liability insurance and utilities.”

Davis said they have suffered a 3.2 percent decrease in their Medicaid rates since April 1, which accounted for $19 a day for Medicaid residents in Ballard Care and Rehabilitation alone.

They are facing another 5 to 6 percent decrease in Medicaid rates in addition to that starting July 1.

04/14/2009
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Photo credit: 
Allison Espiritu

Monika Mires (left) and Esther Kamara (right), both certified nursing assistants at Ballard Rehabilitation, express the challenges in taking care of patients like Nancy Barberis (center), a multiple sclerosis resident, if the state decides to cut $800,000 from their facilities, an equivalence of 25 full-time positions for certified nursing assistants.

(Editor's note: This article appears originally in council member Nick Licata's Urban Politics newsletter.)

Sometimes it's the little things that make me glad to be a public servant.

It was approaching eight o'clock in the evening at the (Seattle) City Council's budget hearing. What once was a chamber packed with more than 200 people, now held fewer than a dozen. We were closing in on three hours of citizens pleading their cases.

We, as council members, were trying to figure out how to cut more than $20 million from this year's budget; one that had already been approved. We would be taking things away from people. Which constituency would receive cuts? Our youth, our elderly, our disabled, our neglected neighborhoods, our over taxed local businesses?

One of the last citizens to approach the podium was Tammara Stroud, a Queen Anne resident who had not come as a member of any group, but rather as a lone citizen. With a slight look of befuddlement, she spoke briefly.  In a rather matter-of-fact manner, she posed a question to us.

04/13/2009

The full Seattle City Council will hear from several panelists what the impact is of the economic recession on Seattle’s small businesses and potential
steps the council can take to keep small businesses stable.

The discussion will be held Monday, April 13, at 3:00 p.m. in Seattle City Hall Council Chambers, 600 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor.

The panelists include: Nancy Porzio, executive director of the Seattle Small Business Association, Theresa Lord Hugel of the University District Chamber of Commerce, Jose Gaitan of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Urban Enterprise Center, UPS Store owner Teferi Gebretsadik, and Pete Hanning, co-owner of the Red Door Ale House and co-facilitator for Government Affairs of the Washington State Restaurant Association.

According to a release from the city, the discussion is a part of the city council Economic Recovery Strategy Committee’s on-going effort to understand the various effects of the recession on Seattle and identify actions that can assist in stabilizing the local economy.

Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the council’s Web site here.  

04/09/2009

Seattle-area industrial firms are alive and vibrant, including those in Ballard, and the city is committed to keeping them that way, according to the city.

Brian Surratt, manager of business and workforce development for the Office of Economic Development, presented early results of studies of the basic industrial firms and maritime industrial firms in the area at the April 8 Ballard District Council meeting.

The city studied the BINMIC (Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing & Industrial Center) and the Duwamish industrial areas from 2000 to 2007.

Surratt said the industrial sector has shown stability over that period in that job loss was less and recovery was greater than in the nonindustrial sector.

"It brings durability in our local economy that makes us less susceptible to these wild fluctuations in the economy," Suratt said.

According to the study, there were 96,000 industrial-sector jobs in 1995. That hit a low of 78,000 in 2004, but was back up to 82,000 in the time since.

04/09/2009

(Editor's note: The following article appears originally in Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin's newsletter "Making it Work.")

Seattle is about to embark on a flurry of legislation to invest in economic recovery projects, beginning with new federal money, and including advancing city capital projects that voters approved in the 2008 Parks for All Levy.

The city has already received $15 million for the Spokane Street Viaduct project from the initial federal transportation package and $6 million for energy conservation investments. The city is currently taking bids on the Spokane Street projects and there’s a good chance that work will begin this year.

The city will also receive some $3.3 million in Community Development Block Grants for loans to small businesses and to build and remodel community facilities. The Jewish Family Services Food Bank, Bush Hotel Congregate Meal Facility, Pike Place Childcare and Preschool and Goodwill Teen Parent Home are all slated for support. We will also rehabilitate and repair seven senior housing buildings, a total of 216 units.

04/08/2009

(Editor's note: The following was sent as an email from Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles to her constituents with a copy to this newspaper.)

As you likely know, I introduced an income tax bill last week, SB 6147, which would establish a 1 percent income tax on high income residents. I am sending this e-mail to you with some clarification relating to the bill’s provisions. 

Our state faces a historic revenue shortfall, the chorus for a state income tax is growing louder. Our state tax system is dependent on the sales tax. It is regressive, forcing the poorest in our communities to pay the most of their income in taxes, and structurally unsustainable as we become an ever-increasing global economy.

That is why I have introduced Senate Bill 6147 to implement a 1 percent income tax on incomes of over $500,000 annually for individuals, $1 million for spouses filing joint returns and $750,000 for single-income households.

The revenues collected from this tax must be deposited in the Education Enrichment Account, created under this measure, to be used in support of the state’s public schools, colleges and universities.

04/07/2009