Community Safety Top Concern of Seattle Voters Ahead of Historic City Council Election 

May 1, 2023.

New Downtown Seattle Association/Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce research points toward public call for more officers and holistic approach to public safety 

The Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce recently released voter research conducted by EMC Research, capturing voter sentiment regarding public safety in Seattle. The January survey of likely November 2023 voters posed a series of questions about safety in their neighborhoods, top safety concerns, Seattle police funding and staffing, unarmed alternative response, and confidence in elected officials on the issue of safety.

Voter sentiment clearly demonstrates a complete approach to public safety is desired in Seattle, with respondents calling for proper staffing levels to meet response times, police reforms and responsible alternative responses.

Survey findings include:

  • Voters are less likely to support candidates who supported a recent city action to eliminate 80 unfilled and unfunded police positions, regardless of the decision being framed as “defunding the police” (60%) or “being fiscally responsible.” (49%)
  • A strong majority of voters (70%) believe we need more officers to keep us safe and reduce crime, and that things like signing bonuses will help (66%), while they are evenly split on whether the department has made progress on reforms (51%-45%). More than six in 10 voters (62%) view Seattle police favorably.
  • In an open-ended question, a little more than half of voters (52%) cited homelessness and/or lack of available housing as their top safety concern. 
  • Eight in 10 voters (80%) support the idea of a public safety force with unarmed officers to respond to low-priority calls.

Seven of the nine Seattle City Council positions are up for re-election on the November 2023  ballot. DSA and the Seattle Metro Chamber conduct research exploring voter sentiment and advocate on behalf of their members.

“We’ve heard from our members — people who visit, live and work downtown — that safety is their number-one priority,” said DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes. “This survey confirmed  that voters are largely aligned. They think community safety is critical to revitalizing downtown and neighborhood business districts, that it needs to be a top priority for elected officials and that law enforcement should be able to respond in a timely but also appropriate manner. For those who are running for local office — or thinking of running — it’s pretty clear that voters are calling for a focused approach and urgent action on public safety.”

“It has been our position – and the research shows that the voters share it – that an all-of-the-above approach to public safety is needed: reforms, alternatives, and the right number of officers to meet response times,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber. “With the most city council positions open that we have seen in 20 years, we urge those who have already filed to make their positions on public safety clear to the voters. And as leaders of civic organizations, we encourage people to run for office – especially if they share the opinions of the voters.”

Four of the current nine Seattle City Councilmembers are not seeking re-election this year. Candidates for Seattle City Council must file a Declaration of Candidacy with King County Elections by Friday, May 19, 2023. The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 1 and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 7. 


Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is a great way to be engaged, get involved, and make a difference. Read the article to find out why!

Queen Anne & Magnolia News ran a great story on Vino in the Village to be held on April 29th. The event is sold out, but the news story highlights an interview with Magnolia Chamber of Commerce executive director Jason Thibeaux. In the interview, Jason shares information about several upcoming events exclusive to Magnolia Chamber members. The value of Magnolia Chamber membership comes through loud and clear. Please read the story and join the Magnolia Chamber here to become an individual, family, or business member.

By Jessica Keller

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Tickets are still available for purchase to the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce’s popular event and spring fundraiser Vino in the Village. (Editor’s note – the event is sold out)

The spring event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday starting at Modeles Home Furnishings, 3220 W. McGraw St., in Magnolia Village. This event will feature 16 local wineries that will pour wines and spirits at different businesses in the village. Go to and click on the Vino in the Village tickets link. (Editor’s note – the event is now sold out)

Magnolia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jason Thibeaux said the biannual event is an important fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce because of its popularity.

“It’s, by far, our most consistent fundraiser,” he said, adding the goal is to sell out of tickets at each event. “Events like this definitely make us whole at the end of the year.”

The event was especially important during COVID, when the chamber was deeply impacted, Thibeaux said. Since then, the chamber is doing well in terms of membership.

“I would say our membership grew slightly during the pandemic, but not to the tune of making up for events,” he said.

That is why events like Vino in the Village is so important to the chamber, which has a number of campaigns to support businesses in the community, Thibeaux said.

The chamber is slowly adding back events to its annual calendar and recently hosted its first casino night since the pandemic, as well as its first in-person annual awards dinner, and chamber board members are planning additional events.

None, however, surpass Vino in the Village for the chamber.

Thibeaux said the event not only benefits the chamber; it also is an important event for businesses in the Village. “It’s great exposure for the businesses,” he said, adding even the restaurants, which can’t participate because of liquor licensing rules.

Thibeaux said a restaurant owner said even without hosting a wine-serving station, just having so many people in the Village draws attention to the restaurants, with the extra foot traffic generating more business at the restaurants from people hungry for a bite to eat.

“So, it usually ends up being a good night for a lot of people,” Thibeaux said.

The chamber hosts two Vino in the Village events a year, with the last one in December, and the chamber typically sells between 550 to 600 tickets.

“We try to balance the number of tickets to the host sites we have,” Thibeaux said, adding the event usually features 16 wineries.

Some businesses host more than one winery depending on the venue’s size. The upcoming event will include 13 independent businesses and 16 wineries.

“The ideal scenario is to sell out or get super close to a sell out,” Thibeaux said. “If we can do that and give good exposure to all the businesses, then that’s a successful night for us.”

Thibeaux said, beyond Vino in the Village, the chamber is working on many other projects and events, some just for members, such as a gardening class at the Magnolia Garden Center, and some for the entire community. He said the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project has hit its goal for phases 4 and 5. Now that the committee in charge is close to finishing, attention will be turned to annual maintenance fundraising.

The chamber is also hosting conversations with candidates for the upcoming election, which includes City Council candidates from districts 6 and 7 and the County Council, and the organization will submit questionnaires to candidates with questions from a business perspective.

Thibeaux said the chamber is expanding its organization beyond the business sector. He said people who want to become involved in the community and advocate in a small way can join the Chamber of Commerce as individuals; they don’t have to own a business to be a member anymore.

“A lot of what we do is enhancing our community, like the beautification committee project,” Thibeaux said. “It’s a way to have a little bit of influence in our community.”

For more information about the Chamber of Commerce, visit

Thibeaux also invites residents interested in more information about the chamber and what it does to schedule a conversation with him at

Launching Seattle Blue Incubator at Fishermen’s Terminal

Washington Maritime Blue, in partnership with the Port of Seattle, create a new incubator program for concept and early-stage maritime and ocean-focused startups.

April 26, 2023. The Port of Seattle has commissioned Washington Maritime Blue to create and execute a program focused on helping founders working on maritime and ocean related startups by providing access to workspace, mentors, programming and more. This one-year, free program will be housed in the Blue Hub located at Fishermen’s Terminal and allow founders to learn how to take their concept and early-stage companies to the next level. This new incubator will act as a possible feeder to the marquee Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator, a fourth-month program investing in venture scale companies.

Five to eight companies will be selected for a program that will begin June 1, 2023 at the Blue Hub in Fishermen’s Terminal. The focus areas for Maritime Blue include: Maritime Decarbonization, Renewable Ocean Energy, Sustainable Fishing & Seafood, Ocean Health & Sustainability, and the Digital Transformation. The Blue Ventures program works to ensure that we are providing underserved communities a safe space for ideas to grow, seek out and recruit women, BIPOC, and other underserved startup founders.

This program will accept everything from ideation/concept to early-stage startups. We will also consider companies further along who are interested in a soft landing into the region’s blue economy.

Over 12 months, The selected startups will receive rent-free collaborative working space at the Blue Hub in Fishermen’s Terminal. The startups will benefit from the full suite of the Washington Maritime Blue cluster members, stakeholders and partners, be a part of unique programming, and the opportunity to connect with a global network of maritime and ocean economy mentors. Maritime Blue members include global, national and regional maritime companies, leading research institutions, government and public agencies, and other community organizations.

Applications are open and close Friday, May 26th at 5 p.m.(PST). To apply, click here.

AI for Business: Bewares and Boasts

Practical ways to use it in business and what to avoid

March 27, 2023.

At first glance, especially for people who have trouble writing or have difficulty starting out and  collecting their thoughts at a keyboard, AI can feel like the smartest kid in the class offering to do your homework for free, forever. It seems like a huge win and I’m not saying it isn’t. But there are a few things you should be aware of as well as some tasks it does tremendously well that could save you a lot of time and energy.

AI “Doesn’t Always Get It Right”

Google’s new Bard (AI) issued this statement to all users, “Bard will not always get it right.
Bard may give inaccurate or inappropriate responses. When in doubt, use the ‘Google it’ button to check Bard’s responses.” This is true of all AI. AI is not a sentient being. It gets its answers and content by crawling the web and condensing information. Sometimes that can cause problems.

It doesn’t:

  • Fact check or verify stats and attributions/citations
  • Sift out bad info (if that information is mentioned in a variety of places)
  • Have any vested interest in producing SEO-rich content for you (unless you use an AI program that is created for that)
  • Know what your audience responds to

AI Has Different Levels of Sophistication

There are many free options out there as well as AI/bot starters where you can build your own “in minutes.” It’s important to know that each one has different capabilities and claims—some have a plagiarism detector, for instance, so you needn’t worry about the copy it creates for you being flagged as duplicate content.

It’s Only as Good as What You Feed It

The real benefit of using AI lies in its ability to create content in a fraction of the time it takes for a human to write it. Even talented writers using dictation software or ones blessed with 100+ words per minute typing skills, can’t research and write a 300-word blog post in a minute.

But the content is only as good as the instructions you give it. For instance, if you were producing a blog post about Golden Retrievers, as a dog walker your blog would be different than that of a dog breeder/dog show participant, which would be different still from a vet’s perspective written for other vets. The level of sophistication and knowledge is different for each of those audiences. You will need to express that in the directions you provide the AI if you want a good piece of content that fits the needs and understanding of your audience.

AIs Struggle with Same Names

When I asked Google’s AI Bard what Bard does really well as research for this article, it responded with things that a bard/storyteller excels at, not what it does. (However, when I asked “what do you do well?,” it provided a satisfactory answer.

So, if your business shares a name with something else or you’re using a play on words or employing a name/word in a different context, the program may not produce helpful results.

5 Things AI Does Well

Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s cover a few things it does really well. Using AI for these things can save you lots of time.

  1. Help you brainstorm. If you’re rewriting your business tagline and you have part of it but can’t think of the perfect ending, try giving an AI writer a prompt such as, “help me finish my <insert type of business> tagline <insert what you have so far>.
  2. Come up with invite language. Basic invite language is a breeze for AIs. Canva has one built in.
  3. Write simple emails or letters. Creating form letters can be a pain but not with AI. Feed it the necessary info and you can move on to a better use of your time.
  4. Create an org chart. Provide your positions and it will give you what you need.
  5. Produce content without colorful language. Many writers lament that the content AI creates is boring. It lacks colorful language and stories. While it can create stories for you, it won’t add a story example to a blog post. However, “boring” is not always bad. If you want to create content that lacks biased language AI might be the way to go. Don’t ditch your editor yet but I have not come across any use of language bias when employing an AI assistant.

Is using AI right for you and your business? Perhaps. But keep in mind, it is a tool, not an additional employee. It can produce content in a fraction of the time, but it requires oversight. It does not always generate content ready to be used as is. If you envision what it creates as a starting point product like how a sous chef does the prep work for a top chef, you have a good understanding of how you might use it in your business.

Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. She works with small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business professionals who want to make an impression and grow a loyal customer/member base. She loves road trips, hates exclamation points, and believes the world would be a better place if we all had our own theme song that played when we entered the room. What would yours be?


Twitter: @christinagsmith
Facebook: @tellyourstorygetemtalking
LinkedIn: @christinagsmith

West Point Construction Impacts – “In the 98199” – policy and local government news

Power quality improvement

West Point Treatment Plant Current Projects

March 20, 2023. Discovery Park and the Magnolia community will see increased cement truck traffic as crews pour concrete for the West Point Treatment Plant’s new battery storage building. From 3 a.m. to 4 p.m. on three consecutive Thursdays – March 23, March 30, and April 6 – approximately 80 cement trucks will travel through the Magnolia community to and from West Point in Discovery Park. King County continues working hard to improve the West Point Treatment Plant’s power reliability and protect Puget Sound.

Residents and park visitors can expect increased truck traffic and associated noise as vehicles travel through the area. There will be no road or park closures associated with these activities

Project description

Power disruptions at the West Point Treatment Plant can cause electrical equipment to protectively shutdown, and when this happens during heavy rain, the facility is overwhelmed with untreated wastewater and stormwater. To prevent the plant from flooding, flow is diverted to Puget Sound in an emergency bypass.

The objective of the project is to eliminate the emergency bypasses of wastewater that are caused by power disruptions. This project has identified a solution and is rapidly implementing it to improve the reliability of the plant’s electrical power supply.

The project team analyzed numerous potential solutions and chose the solution that is the most effective and quickest to implement. The County will install a battery-based system to condition power as it is fed to critical systems in the plant so that they continue to operate during power disruptions, preventing the emergency bypasses of wastewater to the Puget Sound. 

Construction begins in 2022. The power quality improvements are expected to be protecting West Point from power disruptions by 2025. To learn more, click here.


  • Emergency declared by King County Executive and project initiated: Feb 2021
  • Battery solution selected: May 2021
  • Demolition of existing structure: 2022
  • Construction (estimated): 2023-24
  • System online, project complete (estimated): 2025

Purchase tickets for Vino in the Village – April 29, 2023

March 16, 2023. Now is the time to purchase your tickets for Vino in the Village to be held from 6-9 pm on April 29th. Many thanks to our title sponsor, Compass Washington. Thanks also to our fabulous Magnolia Village business hosts. Click here to learn more about the wineries. This popular event always sells out quickly. If you are a Magnolia Chamber business, family, or individual member, please insert your promo code for ticket savings – contact Jason at for assistance. Then, please join us and sip, savor, and stroll through Magnolia Village on April 29th. Sip, sip, hooray!

Reimagine Magnolia Village project and volunteer leadership – a perfect combination

March 15, 2021. The Queen Anne Magnolia News ran a front-page feature on Cheryl McQuiston, who has been the driving force behind the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project. The article shares that her skills in fundraising and coordinating events have served her well as she organized a team of hardworking volunteers that has helped the Village’s streetscape improvements take shape.

To read the article online at QA/Magnolia News click here or read below

Magnolia’s Cheryl McQuiston has always been a social person, but it has taken her entire life to realize the full potential of this gift.

Since 2018, McQuiston has been the driving force of the Magnolia Village Beautification Project and was recognized in 2020 as the Person of the Year by the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce.

“I hadn’t known how much I affected other people until this,” she said.

McQuiston was born and raised in Seattle’s Seward Park neighborhood and attended Franklin High School. She remembers enjoying her Spanish classes and home economics, but what she really excelled at was socializing. Her ability to talk to anyone and make friends with everyone she met would become a very important skill for the career she had yet to discover.

It wasn’t until she and her husband moved to Magnolia and later enrolled their daughter at Our Lady of Fatima that she first heard of event planning and raising money as a career. McQuiston remembers that the school was looking for someone to help with the annual auction and a neighbor recommended her because she was organized, detail-oriented and known among her friends for having the “cleanest counters in town.”

Since she was only working part time at the time, McQuiston decided to help out. Her attention to detail and highly organized events changed the way the school ran their fundraiser.

Soon enough, her daughter advanced to Holy Names High School, and McQuiston got to work upgrading its annual fundraiser as well. It was around this time that she launched her own business to plan events and improve fundraising efforts for her clients. McQuiston said it was always a very rewarding experience and that she really enjoyed the work.

When her husband grew ill, she retired from her fundraising work to care for him full time. That retirement was never meant to last, however. Not long after he passed in 2013, Franklin High School started planning its 50-year reunion. Friends reached out to ask for help, and McQuiston was grateful for the opportunity to stay busy and reawaken her passion for building community.

Since then, most of McQuiston’s projects have been closer to home and with the people and organizations that she loves most. About five years ago, she began working on the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project to raise money to add tables, chairs and other visual improvements to Magnolia’s village streetscape. She is so invested in it that she has even referred to it as the culmination of her life’s work.

‘Reimagine’ beautification project

Jason Thibeaux, the executive director for the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, said he had been daydreaming about doing something to spruce up the village area and committed to it during a community meeting.

“I thought we could do better for Magnolia, and I just needed the people that would be willing to do the work with me,” Thibeaux said.

McQuiston was one of the first people to whom he reached out, and he said she was the absolute perfect person for this project. She started work by talking with friends, neighbors and community members and eventually formed a team.

She often used the Starbucks on McGraw as an unofficial office. One morning, she found herself talking to resident Don Gillmore as he tried to enjoy a cup of coffee. Gillmore, an architect, also happens to be the project manager for the Building Excellence Capitol Levy for Seattle Public Schools. McQuiston put his talent and expertise as a member of the beautification committee to help design the project, create construction drawings and coordinating the permits and work with city department.

“Cheryl has a way with people and her dedication and fundraising blow me away,” Gillmore said. “We had tried to do something about a decade ago but could not find a way to make it work.”

Gillmore said the most amazing part has been seeing the teamwork to get fund raise and complete the different phases of the village project: “neighbors, city, grants, permitting, everybody working together.”

Ann Goos, chamber member and communications consultant, has acted as McQuiston’s right hand throughout this process and has found a lot of joy in it. She described the team as dedicated and talented.

“I’ve never been engaged in something more fulfilling because of the camaraderie that Cheryl created,” Goos said.

She said McQuiston’s leadership and ability to find talent is rare and delightful. She also called out McQuiston’s efforts to expand the team with an eye for the future.

As this project heads into its final installments, McQuiston has put a lot of thought into who will manage the necessary repairs and upgrades in the future. She is thankful for the involvement of the younger members of the team, Julie Bennett and Vixen owner Corean Napolitano, and is currently looking for ways to include more community members so that the project will remain successful for future generations.

McQuiston said leading the Reimagine Magnolia Village streetscape beautification project has been a rewarding experience and exciting to see what’s happened to the community. She has noticed more people in the Village and a real sense of neighborhood pride.

For more information about the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project, visit or

Expanded Web Design Program For Small Businesses And Minority Students

March 14, 2023. Do you need a new Square website? The Seattle Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce the Youth Web Design Program is expanding.

Spots will fill up fast, so don’t wait! The Seattle Office of Economic Development is honored to partner with Kay Tita, Urban League, Good Will, and Square and excited to announce they will be working with Franklin High School students.

Please find eligibility, benefits, a timeline and where to apply below. The program is 100% FREE. 


  • A brand new integrated square website 
  • Technical skills to maintain and update website as needed 
  • Professional product photo shoot ( up to 10 products) 
  • 2 Years domain registrant expenses covered
  • 2 Years Square hosting expenses covered.


  • Located in Seattle, WA with a City of Seattle Business License
  • Participating businesses cannot be a 501(c)(3) non profit 
  • Business and Occupation (B &O) taxes must be paid in full
  • Do not have a website, or website is not current, functional or updatable 


  • Digital Sales Access Program Participants


  • Businesses to receive digital storytelling assets
  • Increased Efficiency, Speed, and Accuracy
  • Expanded payment capabilities
  • Inventory management
  • Simplified accounting and reporting
  • Leverage relevant tools to integrate current and future customer base 
  • A reliable team dedicated to supporting selected business owner(s).


  • March 18th – April 18th – Business Photo Shoot
  • April 18th & April 20th – Youth Training 
  • April 25th & April 27th – Youth Training 
  • May 2nd & May 4th – Youth Training
  • May 6th – Youth & Business Design
  • May 13th – Youth & Business Design 
  • May 20th – Youth & Business Design 

Link to apply HERE

March 4th – Cruise Season Hiring Kicks Off

Saturday, March 4 | 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal
2225 Alaskan Way, Seattle, 98121

Summer jobs are available in Seattle and Alaska! Join the Port of Seattle at the 2023 cruise job fair and meet with employers hiring for part-time and full-time positions at Pier 66 and Pier 91 cruise terminals and for Alaska jobs.

Positions available at $20-$25/hour or more from mid-April to October.

Still in school? Employers will work with high school and college students and teachers to accommodate academic schedules. To learn more, click here.

Free Parking
Interviews on site

Magnolia Village Giving Tree Reveal Celebration

The Reimagine Magnolia Village project celebrated its top donors with the Magnolia Village Giving Tree’s reveal, recognizing those who donated $2500 or more to the Magnolia Village beautification efforts. Hosted by the Magnolia Chamber’s Beautification Committee and emceed by Cheryl McQuiston, Chairperson of the project, the event attracted about 20 donors and supporters.

The permanent installation features a beautiful sculptured tree with leaves naming the donors who have most generously given to the streetscape improvements, including tables, chairs, red umbrellas and decorative posts that hang seasonal banners, wreaths, and cascading flower displays. The recognition giving tree installation is located just west of the entrance to the Magnolia Village Starbuck’s facing W. McGraw Street.

Importantly, the celebration also heralded the last two phases of the Reimagine Magnolia Village Project, which first launched in October 2019. Phases IV & V are in the works, and fundraising has begun. McQuiston reminded the celebrants that February is the “Month of Love” fundraising campaign. All donations up too $25,000 will be matched, doubling a donors impact, thanks to an anonymous donor.

To donate to Phases IV & V and double the value of your gift, click here.