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Highlights of the West Seattle Chamber Annual Awards Program

Image via Hammers Photos’ Photostream on Flickr

Starting the morning out on Alki is always a great beginning to the day.  This morning I got the chance because the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce held their Westside Annual Awards at Salty’s Skyline Room – with its always panoramic, if sometimes misty, view of downtown.

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has served as the leading business association for 82 years.  The theme of today’s awards program was: “Building the West Seattle Economy and Promoting Community.

In keeping with “Building the Economy” part of this theme, land use economist Matt Gardner of Gardner Economics gave the keynote address.  Gardner told the 120 attendees that we are out of the recession and though we are coming back slowly, the worst is behind us.  Specific to the West Coast Metro Area, Gardner reported that Seattle is tied with Phoenix for having the strongest recovery, largely due to the primary drivers of our local economy, or the “five B’s,”– Boeing, biotech, benefactors, bytes, and batteries.  During the Q&A, I asked why the condominium market seems to be failing.  He responded that 20 percent of young adults live with their parents (this March 2012 Christian Science Monitor article says 30%).  Many do so because they can’t get mortgages and others, even if they could, don’t feel it makes financial sense for them to buy.   Gardner’s remarks are reported on by the West Seattle Blog, see here for the complete story.

Several Awards were given, including “Business of the Year,” “Emerging Business of the Year,” and “Non-Profit of the Year.”  The award I think that best exemplified the “Promoting Community” theme of the day was the award “WestSider of the Year,” given to tireless civic leader, Pete Spalding.  Although Pete is active on the Board of the West Seattle Food Bank and the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, I know Pete best for his work with the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council.  I worked with Pete in 2005 when I was Chair of the Council`s Public Safety, Civil Rights & Arts Committee and Pete participated in a Neighborhood Crime Summit that I organized.  The standing-room only Summit included presentations from each city precinct, highlighting crime statistics, staffing levels, and methods used by each precinct captain to make deployment decisions. As he always does, Pete represented the Southwest Precinct well in sharing his experiences and thoughts on how Seattle can become a safer community.  If you really want a blast from the past, see Pete in 2005 here and start watching at about 227 minutes into the video.

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