Tag Archives: roberto maestas

Roberto Maestas, El Centro founder, dies

Roberto Maestas, a founder of Beacon Hill’s El Centro de la Raza who led that non-profit organization until he retired last year, passed away this morning of lung cancer at the age of 72.

Mayor McGinn has ordered that city flags be lowered to half-staff today in honor of Maestas.

A former Spanish teacher at Franklin High School, Maestas was among the activists involved in the peaceful occupation of the then-empty Beacon Hill Elementary School building on 16th Avenue South in 1972. After three wintery months in the run-down building, the group negotiated an agreement with the City to lease the building for $1 per year, and the El Centro organization has been there ever since. Maestas led the organization as executive director until he stepped down in 2009.

The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project at the University of Washington has this page about Maestas, including a biography and several video interviews.

Here is a story from last year about the Four Amigos: Maestas, the late Bernie Whitebear, Larry Gossett, and Bob Santos, who as activists and friends worked together to make Seattle a more just place.

The Seattle Times (BHB news partners) posted an obituary here. More obits at KIRO TV, Seattle P-I, Seattle Weekly, and The Stranger.

Update: Details of a memorial celebration for Mr. Maestas are in the comments.

Beacon Bits: Wong well-wishes, chief search, found dog

Get-well card for Wah Wong and family
Get-well wishes for Wah Wong and family posted outside the Jade West Cafe in West Seattle. Photo courtesy West Seattle Blog.

Wah Wong, the proprietor of the Jade West Cafe in West Seattle, who was injured in the DUI Corvette incident last week, has been released from Harborview. His son, Jason, is still in the hospital, reportedly in satisfactory condition — West Seattle Blog

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El Centro’s Roberto Maestas has been appointed to Mayor-elect McGinn’s Police Chief Search Committee.

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A lost dog followed Jennie home. She writes:

Today a young, male American Staffordshire Terrier (possible mix) followed me and my dog home. We found him near the library. He is mostly white with some brindle spots on his back and ear and has bright ice white-blue eyes. He’s very friendly.

He has no tags and the veterinarian found no ID chip. She’ll be calling Animal Control soon, but if you recognize this dog by description, please call 206-971-6028.

Beacon Bits: Four Amigos, food safety, and funky foliage

KPLU has a lovely story about “the Four Amigos”: Roberto Maestas, Larry Gossett, Bob Santos, and the late Bernie Whitebear, activists who played a large role in Seattle’s history over the last 40 years. Maestas, of course, played a particular role in Beacon Hill’s history by helping found El Centro de la Raza, and leading the organization until he retired recently.

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BeHi Bonsai, the blog about the funky topiary foliage found throughout Beacon Hill, has found a yard that goes above and beyond the call of topiary duty: “Rings of foliage waft above the ground magically as if there is some unseen creature underground blowing leafy smoke rings for our amusement.”

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Health Department restaurant inspectors have recently visited a few more local establishments. Results of the inspections are posted online. The Aloha Grocery at 7762 Beacon Avenue South had 8 “blue” violation points (“surfaces not maintained, clean, sanitized”), El Delicioso at 2500 Beacon Avenue South had 5 blue violation points (plumbing issues), and Wing Luke Elementary School at 3701 South Kenyon Street scored a perfect 0. (Congratulations!) Dahlak Eritrean Cuisine at 2007 South State Street (at the foot of Beacon Hill, near Oberto’s) received 10 “red critical” violation points, for inadequate hand washing facilities.

Context: 45 or more red violation points force a re-inspection within two weeks, 90 or more red points force closure of the establishment, and 120 or more total (red and blue) points force closure of the establishment as well. So all of these businesses were in no danger of closure. Even one red violation is enough to result in an unsatisfactory inspection, however, and specialists work with the operators of the establishment to make sure that the situation is corrected immediately.

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