Marijuana, charter schools, and 36th District candidates debate

Last night at the Taproot Theater (206 N. 85th St.) in Greenwood, the 36th District candidates and representatives from two ballot initiatives debated in an open forum. The debates covered Initiative 502, which would license, regulate and tax marijuana in the state and Initiative 1240, which would introduce charter schools into the public school system.

36th District candidates Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame answer questions at Taproot Theater on Tuesday night

36th District candidates Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame

The remaining candidates for the 36th District, Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame discussed education, plans for office, and endorsements. Tarleton, a Democrat and current Seattle Port Commission president, said her 30 years of experience in working for the government would give her the knowledge and ability to serve as a state representative. Noel Frame, who is a first-time candidate and also a Democrat, said her passion for “systems change” and numerous endorsements from state legislators and Governor Christine Gregoire show her readiness and qualifications to represent the 36th District.

On the issue of higher-education funding, Tarleton laid out three ideas for helping students. First, she wants to create a low-interest student loan program, managed by the state. Second, she wants to freeze tuition at all 4-year institutions and community colleges for three years, to give the state a chance to create revenues from “new revenues,” including the potential sales tax on soda and candy. Her third idea is to develop a grant program with the federal government to secure a $25 million grant each year for ten years in which the state matches that grant for higher education. Frame’s approach to changes in higher-education funding is different, as she describes herself as more interested in changing the system as a whole. “I’m an organizer, a systems-change person. I really want us to have a state-wide conversation about where we want to go,” Frame explained. “My strength is in community engagement and organizing, and with fellow legislators, I want to go to communities all around the state and have those conversations.”

The candidates will appear in Ballard again on Tuesday, October 23 at the Sunset Hill Community Association (3003 NW 66th St) from 7 to 9 p.m. More details to come on that meeting.

Initiative 502 (concerns marijuana)

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and marijuana defense attorney Douglas Hiatt discussed I-502, Holmes a supporter and Hiatt an opponent. The bill would, according to the Washington Secretary of State voters guide, “license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.” One of the key issues Hiatt raised was the DUI portion of the bill, under which users caught driving under the influence would be given a DUI (after a positive drug test). Hiatt said that part of the bill is a “disaster waiting to happen,” adding that the zero-tolerance aspect means he won’t be able to defend medical marijuana patients whose tolerance levels would deem them able to drive safely.

Hiatt stressed that the bill is not the key to ending marijuana prohibition, whereas Holmes argued that the initiative would “start the debate” on a federal level. By taxing marijuana, Holmes said the state could, “capture an income stream,” adding millions of tax dollars to the state’s general fund.

Initiatve 1240 (charter schools)

Eric Blumhagan and Cary Evans discussed I-1240, which, according to the voter’s guide, would, “authorize up to 40 publicly-funded charter schools open to all students, operated through approved, nonreligious, nonprofit organizations, with government oversight; and modify certain laws applicable to them as public schools.” Blumhagan represented the opponents of the bill, and Evans was arguing for the supporters of the measure. Blumhagan’s bottom line was that charter schools will take money out of public schools, which are already struggling to adequately meet the needs of students. Evans said the schools would not, in fact, take money away from students, as charter schools will be in the public school system and will therefore serve students across the board.

Another issue raised by Blumhagan was the lack of oversight and potential placements of charter schools. “What’s to stop charter schools from going to Magnolia or Mercer Island?” he posed. If the charter schools were to be built in those areas, with no transportation offered, Blumhagan argued that would not serve low-income students or target areas that need charters. Evans countered, saying the application process for schools is “rigorous,” and insisted that statistics show a huge increase in graduation rates from students who enroll in charter schools.

These measures and candidates will be on the November 6 General Election ballot. The last day to register to vote online is October 8. View more voter information here. For a complete list and descriptions of the measures that will appear on the ballot, click here.

Man arrested for massage parlor sex assault

Last night, a man who was wanted for sexually assaulting a massage parlor employee was arrested. According to the SPD Blotter, at about 9:30 p.m., employees from the Carnation Massage Clinic (602 NW 85th St) called to report that the man who had sexually assaulted an employee had returned. The suspect allegedly displayed an edged weapon to carry out the assault against the employee.

From the Blotter:

When employees tried to detain the suspect for police, he fled on foot, but was caught a short distance later.  Several units arrived and took custody of the suspect.  Following a positive identification by the victim, the suspect was arrested and transported to the North precinct. He was later booked into King County Jail for 2 counts of Investigation of Rape.

Lane closures on Ballard Bridge and 15th Ave W today

Traffic in and out of Ballard could get a little hairy tomorrow, as light replacement work on the bridge and landscaping maintenance on 15th Ave W will close lanes in both directions. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) says the crews on the bridge will close the northbound, outside lane of the bridge today, Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to set utility poles. SDOT says they plan to perform the same work on the southbound side of the bridge on Thursday, Sept. 27. If needed, work will continue on Friday during the same hours, according to SDOT.

In addition to the bridge work, Urban Forestry crews from the SDOT will be doing landscaping maintenance in the median of 15thAvenue, from the bridge to just south of the West Dravus Street Overpass, tomorrow. They plan to close the inside, southbound lane on 15th Avenue West from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Scandinavian Classes start next week in Ballard

Fall is officially here which means the Scandinavian Language Institute is starting up its fall quarter. Classes for Svenska, Norsk, Dansk and Islanska start the week of October 1 at the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 NW 67th St). Details, class schedules, tuition and registration can be found here.

The Swedish Cultural Center (1920 Dexter Ave N) also offers Swedish language classes as well as Swedish cultural classes. You can see the schedule here. They’ll be offering classes of all levels, including a Development of Modern Sweden class. To register, go to the first day of class with your registration form from the website.

106th annual Leif Erikson Bazaar coming up next month

Coming up in just less than a month is the 106th annual Leif Erikson Bazaar, a festival for all things Nordic.

The festival will be on October 20 and 21 at the Leif Erikson Lodge (2245 NW 57th St.).

From the organizers:

Have some family fun while enjoying Nordic food from our tastefully designed sandwiches to the delicate krumkake cone and the hearty ertesuppe/peasoup, lapskaus/lamb stew, and rommegrot, a silky sour cream porridge; Norwegian desserts in our Bakeri/Bakery; handicrafts from our Norna ladies; kids games and Karnival Korner from 10AM-2PM (Saturday) and 11AM-2PM (Sunday); lots of raffles; gently loved previously owned items at our Ditt og Datt booth; find a good book at our Book Nook, good strong Norwegian coffee; and our new beer loft open from 3PM to closing! Learn about the Sons of Norway, too. Win a $1000 travel voucher for a flight aboard IcelandAir, $600 cash, or $200 gift certificate for Scandinavian Specialties in Ballard plus $100 cash. Velkommen!

They’ll have vendors such as Desiree of Sweden, selling Scandinavian gifts; Judy Painted Treasures with Norwegian rose painting, also known as “rosemaling;” and Runecraft with Silver, selling pewter, bronze and stainless steel rings, earrings, and more.

The first bazaar was in 1906, and was organized to raise funds for a new building, which is now known as the historical Norway Hall on Boren Avenue, home to the Cornish College of the Arts. The Leif Erikson Hall was opened in 1986, built mostly by volunteers.

Come on down to the Leif Erikson Lodge bazaar in Ballard! Enjoy the food; meet your neighbors; learn about the Sons of Norway; see the beautiful crafts and arts of Norway and Scandinavia some made by local artisans; see the bargains for vintage and gently used household items and books; and take some chances on luscious food baskets from local merchants and groups, trips, cash, and so much more! See you on October 20 and 21!

Learn more here.

Meet the 36th District candidates tonight

Tonight is the open forum for the 36th District candidates in Greenwood at the Taproot Theater, 204 N. 85th St. The forum, hosted by the Greenwood Community Council, starts at 6:30 p.m. and will include other issues such as the marijuana legalization and charter schools initiatives. The candidates forum will feature Gael Tarleton and Noel Frame and is scheduled to start at 7:55 p.m. Each candidate or campaign spokesperson will make an opening and closing statement, with time for audience questions. A reception will immediately follow the forum, so audience members can meet the candidates.