CD swim team and coach featured in Seattle Met magazine

The CD’s Central Area Aquatics Team (CAAT, “cat”) gets a sidebar mention in this month’s Seattle Met magazine.  The feature profiles head coach Lisa Dahl, a nationally-ranked swimmer, who leads CAAT’s diverse team of coaches and swimmers.  

One goal of Dahl and the other CAAT coaches is to encourage a love of swimming among kids from under-represented groups.  The article explains:

BLAME THE COST of swimming lessons—about $100 a month—or a historic lack of access to pools in black communities. But nearly 70 percent of African American children do not know how to swim. The unsurprising result: Black youth drown at a rate three times that of whites.

Lisa Dahl, a world-class swimmer turned coach, has made it her mission to change this. First by reciting the grim numbers to anyone who will listen. And then by arranging scholarships for young swimmers who join her Central Area Aquatic Team (CAAT).

As noted earlier on CDN, CAAT offered their “Get Wet” introduction to swimming earlier this spring.  Youth can join at any time, however, and scholarships are available.

“Get Wet” FREE kids’ swim team experience!

Our neighborhood youth swim club, the Central Area Aquatics Team, is offering a chance for neighborhood youth to try the team free this month.  CAAT offers a variety of programming for children five and older, with practice at the Medgar Evers and Seattle University pools.  

“Get Wet” FREE kids’ swim team experience!

The Central Area Aquatics Team (CAAT) has a great opportunity for you. It’s called “Get Wet” and it’s a great way to learn more about swimteam.  Even better it’s fun and FREE at the Medgar Evers pool Thursdays and Fridays in May.


May 17, 18, 24 & 25 – 4:10-5:00
Medgar Evers Pool

CAAT offers topnotch coaching and gives young swimmers at taste of swim team. No tryouts needed; you just must be able to swim across the shallow pool to join. Many scholarships are available so that everyone who wants to swim can.

*Parents will need to sign a waiver form similar to that required for school sports.  Registration forms must be completed prior to swimmers going in the water.

“The CAAT swim club, based in central Seattle, is committed to providing swimmers of all families, regardless of socioeconomic and ethnic background, the opportunity to participate and excel in USA Swimming. CAAT provides an inclusive, fun, respectful and safe environment where swimmers excel under the guidance of a highly qualified professional staff and the support of a caring and responsible community.”  More information at  

CD resident tapped to lead Urban League

Today’s Seattle Times reports that the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle has chosen CD resident Pamela (Green) Banks as its new leader.

After a national search, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle found its new CEO locally, hiring longtime city employee Pamela Banks to rebuild the civil-rights group.

In a statement, the League touted Banks’ community roots, penchant for getting programs funded and reputation for working with diverse constituencies.

“She’s got a great history in the community. She has a lot of great ideas and enthusiasm,” said Walle Ralkowski, board chairman of the Urban League.

Per the article, Banks was a founding member of the Garfield High School Foundation and served as a board member of the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce.  

The selection committee expressed confidence in Banks’ ability to lead the 85-year-old Seattle Chapter, the proud history of which has been tarnished in recent years by its association with the Seattle Public Schools discredited small business program. The league also lost funding for its youth outreach programs, but still runs a foreclosure prevention program.

With the hiring of Banks and the January sale of its headquarters building on 14th and Yesler the League’s Board believes it will be in a better position to regain its historical role in advancing civil rights and the well-being of communities of color in the Northwest.

Leschi PTA featured in article on school fundraising

Sunday’s front page Seattle Times article addressed the disparities sustained by different levels of parent-teacher association (PTA) fundraising.  Madison Park’s McGilvra elementary is featured as one extreme, a public school in a wealthy area with a highly effective PTA.  In McGilvra’s case, their PTA raises upwards of $350,000 annually, enough to purchase and staff additional classrooms, a controversial effort that kept class sizes lower than in other Seattle Public Schools elementary schools.

Just 2 ½ miles south of McGilvra sits Leschi Elementary, a diverse school with nearly 10 times the percentage of students receiving federally subsidized free or reduced lunch. Leschi parents haven’t traditionally raised a lot of money.

But that’s changing, said Jennifer Marquardt, co-president of the school’s PTA. Last year the group emphasized parent giving and organized a jog-a-thon and other events, raising $35,000. That’s far less than some PTAs, but it’s some $30,000 more than usual, she said.

As a former Leschi parent, I can attest to Marquardt’s efforts and those of other parents, who have effectively re-invigorated a long-lagging PTA and started some excellent enrichment programs.  I suspect that a wave of fresh energy came in with the transfer of the Montessori program from TT Minor a few years back.

See the full article at the Seattle Times website.

Local business featured in New York Times

Madrona’s Glassybaby has moved beyond the Emerald City to the Big Apple.  It’s a big jump, and this New York Times article covers some of the challenges it has faced.  


In the last few years, the company has been on a steep trajectory. In 2009, sales increased 25 percent, and Glassybaby caught the eye of Jeffrey Bezos, the founder of — also located in Seattle — who bought 20 percent of the company. In 2010, Glassybaby sales increased 50 percent. Ms. Rhodes says she has given away more than $600,000 to charity.

With the success of Glassybaby in Seattle and the infusion of cash from Mr. Bezos, Ms. Rhodes decided in 2009 to expand to a new location. She quickly concluded that the country’s biggest market offered the best opportunity — despite the inevitable competition of other specialty stores.

In Manhattan, Ms. Rhodes believed she would be able to sell to millions of apartment dwellers in homes ranging from small studio apartments all the way up to multimillion-dollar condos. The city also had strong philanthropic traditions, so there would be plenty of nonprofit partners to work with, and she felt the story of her work as a cancer survivor creating something to help others would resonate.

The final factor in the expansion was the poor economy. At the time, Ms. Rhodes said, few other retailers were expanding into the city. She said she believed that New Yorkers still liked discovering new things — but there were not as many new things happening because of the recession.

Ducks at MLK & Cherry?

A concerned neighbor just reported a pair of ducks strangely settled in front of the grocery on the northeast corner of MLK and Cherry.  She said it seemed to be a male/female mallard pair; a feasible worry is that they have chosen a bad place to nest.  We wondered about the possiblity of moving them to the lake, but didn’t want to disturb them unnecessarily.  Apparently the Humane Society (not suprisingly) is not answering.

Has anyone else seen them?  Any thoughts on the appropriate care/treatment of mislocated wild-life?


Any info or advice appreciated.


Primary election

Ballots for the August primary arrive in CD mailboxes this week.  The state-wide races are more contested than the local competitions.

Fifteen candidates appear on the ballot for the US Senator.  Incumbent Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Challengers Clint Didier and Dino Rossi have received the most state-wide attention.  The top two vote-getters will advance to the November ballot.

Two of the three State Supreme Court races are contested.  In Position No. 1, incumbent Jim Johnson is the target of “Yank Eyman’s Johnson,” a cleverly-named progressive campaign stressing his relationship with perennial right-wing activist Tim Eyman.  

In Position No. 6, incumbent Richard Sanders is being challenged by Pierce County Suprior Court Judge Bryan Chushoff and Former Court of Appeals Judge Charlie Wiggins.  Sanders’ voter statement claims “more than 1000 endorsers” whereas Wiggins’ notes he was voted “exceptionally well-qualified” by local bar associations.

Much of the southern and central CD is in the 37th State Legislative District.  The race for District 37 State Senator lists two choices, long-serving Democratic Senator Adam Kline and schools sports official/real estate agent Tamra Smilanich who lists no party preference.  Both these candidates will presumably advance to the fall ballot.  Regular CDN readers will recall that local activist/author/educator Eric Liu campaigned for this position before withdrawing for personal reasons earlier this year.

Democratic State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos is running unopposed.  Fellow 37th district Democrat Rep. Eric Pettigrew is challenged by John Stafford who is also listed as preferring the Democratic party. A UW Social Work graduate and former deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Norm Rice, Pettigrew has served in the legislature since 2002, chairs the House Health & Human Services Committee and is a member of the powerful Ways & Means committee.  According to his voter statement, Stafford has run twice (unsuccessfully) for the state legislature, runs a consulting firm, and is a full-time substitute teacher for the Seattle Public Schools.

The August ballot also contains the election for party precinct officers.  Running unopposed is Leschi Community Council President Sharon Sobers who was captured by a CDN photographer at the 2009 Flo Ware Park celebration.

The northern part of the CD falls into the 43rd Legislative District.  State Senator Ed Murray runs unopposed, as does Rep. Jamie Pedersen.  Both are openly-gay Democrats, and Pederson holds Murray’s former position.  Also in the 43rd, Republican political activist Kim Verde is challenging longtime Democratic Speaker of the House Frank Chopp.  

Pratt mural featured in Seattle Times

As announced earlier on CDN, there’s a new mural going in at the Pratt Fine Arts building on 20th and Jackson.  Artist Derek Wu and community youth are painting it.  There’s a nice picture of it on the first page of the Local section in today’s Seattle Times.  

The art center’s Youth Art Works program has teamed up with Wu to create the mural one of the building’s bare orange walls. Wu says the mural is inspired by M.C. Escher and has “a dream-like state”.

The Times article notes there will be a dedication ceremony Friday at 6pm.

CAMP and the plastic bag ban proposal

Danny Westneat’s column in today’s Seattle Times discusses the plastic bag fee/tax proposal, on the ballot at Referendum 1.  A lot of coverage to date has focused on the involvement of the petrochemical industry, which has spent something in the range of $1.3 million on opposing the ban.

Politics make strange bedfellows, and in this case our local Central Area Motivation Project (CAMP) also opposed Ref. 1 based on what they see as a possible harm to low-income consumers.  Westneat spoke with their new executive director, Andrea Caupain.

“We wanted to get ahead of the issue and ask: How will this affect our clients, the low-income?” Caupain says. “We hadn’t seen anyone look at this in depth, only people making arguments to support their side.”

CAMP tried an experiment. Its food bank handed out hundreds of reusable canvas tote bags.

Patrons were told to use them when picking up food, and that the agency would stop providing paper or plastic bags due to the expense of the coming bag fee (this was back when the City Council first approved the fee).

For six months, staffers tracked what happened.

“It was not good,” she says.

CAMP staffers observed – not surprisingly – that few of their clients brought back the bags regularly. When asked why not, “usually the explanation had something to do with the struggles of being poor.”

If you are moving a lot, homeless or borderline homeless, or working long hours to make ends meet, keeping track of a bag is a low priority.  I get that.  

But I personally think it’s short-sited for CAMP to make the leap from “our clients did not bring our bags back” to opposing a measure for the environment.  I’m disappointed that they took this position.

After all, evidence suggests that low- and moderate-income households have the most to lose from climate change and environmental degradation.  Wealthier households can buffer themselves; wealthier neighborhoods can spend resources on clean-up (or secure resources with political power).  

For a visual example, take a walk around the block in the CD.  Odds are, you’ll see some litter.  I regularly find plastic bags (“urban tumbleweeds”) resting in my yard and street.  When I visit friends in Viewridge or Greenlake, I don’t see trash on their streets.

Instead of opposing the measure, think about how a bag ban could be used to enhance the well-being of low-income communities.  A local non-partisan think-tank, the Washington Budget & Policy Center (disclosure:  I’m on their community advisory board), has been examining equity issues in climate change.  They conclude, “To protect the interest of people with lower- and moderate-incomes, [revenue] should be invested … for the public good, particularly to off-set the cost to people with lower- and moderate-incomes.”  

For instance, bag ban revenue could be used to subtract 2% from the grocery bill of anyone buying groceries using their card from the Basic Food Program.  If that person had to buy a bag, the $.20 for every $10 would more or less cover the cost of the bag.  Someone who brings a reusable bag or is able to carry items home without a bag would get cheaper groceries and be better off.  

CAMP, I urge you to rethink this position.  CD residents, I urge you to vote for Ref. 1.  

And that’s my two – or twenty – cents.