Friday, May 29, 2009

Update on the Hugh Sisley properties in Seattle

Somebody from the City of Seattle looked up Hugh Sisley and landed on the ACL's Dawson lawsuit page. I followed the City's search and landed on a Ravenna neighborhood blog which has all the latest news from Roosevelt.

Apparently, Hugh Sisley actually got the 99 year (triple net) lease he insisted was his right. He never became a "willing seller."

On Tuesday, May 26th, at 7:30 PM in the Roosevelt High School Commons, the Roosevelt Zoning Committee will hold its regular monthly meeting with a difference. A large turn out is expected. Main topic for discussion is the recent application for zoning changes by the Roosevelt Development Group, a private developer, which has leased the Hugh Sisley properties for 99 years. Seattle's Department of Planning and Development is requiring an Environmental Impact Study to be done on the project.
The Department of Planning and Development must be what the DCLU is called now. And check it out, Hugh's developers, the Roosevelt Development Group, says they want to go up 160 feet! (The zoning in 1999 was NC30) Hugh always said he would get paid by the foot going up and by the foot going down. I haven't read all the posts yet, but the blogger referred to the transit line as approved. So, what a trip, ten years later it's all coming down exactly the way Hugh wanted it to. Amazing. Even though he used all my background research and hard won PDAs and still refuses to pay me for any of my contributions, I can't help but be happy to hear that he won.

Assistant City Attorney Darby DuComb said on the stand during my eviction trial that my research and participation in Hugh's affairs was a main reason the City changed its tactics against Mr. Sisley. Does this mean that there IS a way to stop the takings? What did Hugh and his lawyers eventually do that freed up the properties enough for a development group to lease it? Hugh was never concerned about anyone but himself so it would not occur to him to share his success story with other property owners facing the same communitarian land grabs. Hugh was a pilot test for public nusiance abatements, it was implemented in 1999 when the City claimed control of a milewide radius around each new transit station (called Station Area Development).

I still can't imagine how he skated past the whole Keith Gilbert arrest and conviction for illegal arms sales. Is Bob Nelson still working behind the scenes for Hugh's lawyers? Is Abby?


Glenn Roberts said...

"So, what a trip, ten years later it's all coming down exactly the way Hugh wanted it to. Amazing. Even though he used all my background research and hard won PDAs and still refuses to pay me for any of my contributions, I can't help but be happy to hear that he won."
Hugh won? I can't believe you gleaned that out of my blog. He may have won whatever he has conned the developer out of for the lease option but this project is going nowhere as far as 95% or more of the neighborhood is concerned.
So stay tuned, Niki. Next time you visit Seattle you will probably notice a few more of Sisley's slummed out properties have gone the way of the wrecking ball, but no new construction from this developer is on the near horizon.

the tent lady said...

Thanks Glenn,

My point is ten years ago the City of Seattle planned to abate Hugh's properties, and the very fact that he still owns it means he's won. That was the the point of the war.

Before I left the City had hired their own architectural firm (Johnson Partnership) to plan development of Sisley's properties. The City was NEVER against the need to tear down his old houses and rebuild multi level apartments. The problem was the City wanted to control and/or own the properties and used various and most unsavory ways to get it.

My role in all this began when the City planned inside inspections of Sisley homes, and then on 9/30/99 they "inspected" 2 homes with a SWAT team. The tenants were caught in the middle of the City's war against Sisley, and to make it all seem "necessary" we were all denigrated at RNA meetings for not meeting Bellevue living standards.

I did a door-to-door survey of 6 blocks in the neighborhood in Dec 1999, and only ONE person I spoke to had attended community meetings or read the part of the final matrix where low income residents were labled "transients with a significant negative impact."

Where did you get your figure "95% or more" of the neighborhood are against Hugh's development? If I recall correctly, only 35 people "validated" the neighborhood plan in 1999, yet the City claimed the whole neighbordhood endorsed it.

Thanks for keeping your Ravenna blog, I will stop back from time to time and see how LA21-Seattle is progressing. (For info on LA21 see Margaret Pagler's webpage.)

Lani Johnson said...

Please note that the City did NOT hire The Johnson Partnership as you have stated above. The City hired GGLO Architects for the "Design & Development" study in 2000. You have misrepresented The Johnson Partnership's role.

The Johnson Partnership is an architecture & Planning firm located in the Roosevelt Neighborhood. Partners Larry & Lani Johnson have been long-time residents and business owners in the neighborhood and have spent an enormous amount of time over the years as volunteers assisting our neighbors with the RNA's neighborhood planning efforts and other such community-based activities. Both Lani & Larry are (and always have been) strong supporters of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Plan & Update. I was sad to see your misstatement regarding us.

-Lani Johnson

the tent lady said...

Thank you for the correction Lani, I stored my RNA docs in Wyoming in 2004 (2500 docs subpoena'd in Frankenfield v Backmon 2001) so I can't check my facts on anything related to local planning efforts. I encountered your firm at every turn and I apologise that it was the only name that stuck in my mind. So, a different architectural firm built that lovely 3-D model of my remodeled house, the one that was presented to that small group of concerned residents in 2000?

I wasn't a long-term resident of Roosevelt. I moved there in 1997 to help my friend Michele who was very sick. The first RNA meeting I attended was in March 1999. Hugh Sisley had been over at our house every day begging me to go be a witness to the City's plans to "steal" his land. I had made the mistake earlier of telling him that would never happen.I assured him over and over that this is America and protection of prvate property is the basis for our entire legal system. I explained how it's the core basis for our entire judiciary, and it can never fail or disappear, or the whole system would go down. I lived to rue those words.

What a great introduction to communitarian thinking I got that night. Were you there? (Are you familiar with the theory that substantiates everything your company does?) City Attorney Mark Sidran sat at a head table with 3 Councilmembers and a DCLU agent, all up in front of a big huge map of Roosevelt. The map had giant red X's on all our houses. Sidran led the meeting participants in a tirade against Sisley, and nobody stopped the attendees from calling his tenants "pigs and trash." Sidran ended the meeting offering pro bono attorneys to any Sisley tenant who would sue Hugh. I was horrified, and that feeling only grew stronger with the more RNA related planning meetings I attended.

I asked at several meetings how the City could make plans to develop property they didn't own. The response was always a reassurance that it was just a quality of life issue or that someone would "explain it" after the meeting. But after the meetings everyone ran from me (literally) and I never did catch up with or get an appointement to interview our neighborhood planning coordinator, Diedre Grace.

Actually, the only way I started getting any answers at all was when I began filing official requests under the PDA. Like Armen Yousoufian learned, planning commissioners and their committees do not approve or adhere to the American ideal (and legal requirement) of transparency in government. Unlike Yousoufian, I did not have the money to file suit against the City and County for their hundreds of violations of the WA State PDA (and the Seattle Municipal Law against keeping "secret files" on private citizens). My RNP/COPS R&B file that the City denied existed after it was shown to me by Community Services Officer Michale Crooks, was handed over to the COMPASS group by DON's NATS' Director Veronica Jackson in early 2000.


the tent lady said...

Were you aware that Roosevelt was a designated pilot test for the NIJ's COMPASS program? As a planner, I can't imagine that the technology created by Kerlikowske in 1999 while he was a D.C. COPS' Grants Director wouldn't have been of interest to your firm. Community Planning includes utilizing all the "available data," doesn't it?

And isn't it true that the RNP at IC-L14 and 15 designated shared housing to be licensed and routinely inspected, using "innovative strategies of enforcement"? Did you ever see the "Top Ten Life Threatening Things" a City or County employee may witness while inside a private home on a "routine house call?" Were you aware that "messy kitchens" was on the final Top 10 List, or that our personal data was to be entered into the COMPASS database to assist planners with rebuilding a more livable community?

Would it matter to you if you knew the same guy who created COMPASS (and was appointed SPD Chief in 2000) also created the Homeland Security's Fusion Center program for sharing COMPASS data (and is now Obama's Drug Czar)? How about the fact that Margaret Pagler openly posted on her website that Seattle was following UN Local Agenda 21 planning mandates for sustainable development?

I was educated enough to know that my privacy right is a sub-right derived from my right to property. I can also guarantee you that either ALL Americans share the SAME rights or NONE of us can keep them, and "none" includes the 35 people who validated the RNP.

After the community planners planned and executed a community policing SWAT raid for "suspicion of harboring rats and bugs," (see Dawson The City of Seattle 9th, 2002) I wasn't just focused on helping Hugh Sisley keep his most fundamental right as an American. No, once I saw exactly what kinds of "innovative strategies of enforcement" were allowable under sustainable development programs, I broadened my focus to include the origination of this whole new theory of rebuilding livable communities. I've tried to see it through your persepective, now maybe you'd like to try seeing it through mine. I can assure you the whole story behind the RNP is a lot more interesting than anybody in the RNA knows.

The question you could be asking yourself is, what kind of government predicts and prevents crime and uses private information to rebuild people into "better" neighbors? I'm sad to see that when you are confronted with all my factual research about the RNP's implementation and all the things your group started that violated numerous rights we were born with under the U.S. Bill of Rights, your only concern is that I "misrepresented" your firm.

Anonymous said...

I want to share some information here... Scott Ringgold works for the Department of Planning and Development in Seattle, and he also created and runs South Seattle's main neighborhood online community forum, called the Columbia City Wiki -- visit

This forum appears to be pro-socialist, and Scott appears willing to prevent any meaningful dialogue about how socialism impacts the community.

Please also visit where you will find information about Columbia City's own Freedom Socialist Party group, operating in a prominent location in the community. This community is predominently African-American, with strong pro-Obama (socialist) views.