GCC April Meeting: How Will City Council Districts Affect  Neighborhoods?

Council DistrictsApril Membership Meeting
Tuesday April 21, 7:00 – 8:30
Greenwood Library
8016 Greenwood Ave. N
 
How Will City Council Districts Affect 
Neighborhoods and Community Councils?
 
Sorry for the late notice for this month’s Greenwood Community Council meeting, which is tomorrow – or maybe today by the time you get this.  
 
Last year voters approved a new method of selecting city council candidates, with seven members elected by district and two city-wide.  District council elections will change Seattle politics dramatically.  Three current city council incumbents have announced they will not run again, and everyone is wondering whether neighborhoods will have a stronger voice in budgeting, planning or policy, and (conversely) whether city-wide priorities will be neglected.  Greenwood is bisected by the 5th and 6th city council districts, and over the next several months we will be meeting candidates hoping to represent us.
 
For community councils, city council districts raise all sorts of questions:
  • How should we be involved in vetting the candidates?  
  • How should we work with other community councils and other neighborhood groups?
  • Does is make sense to realign the city’s district councils with city council districts?
  • Should we focus equal attention on the at-large council member races?
  • What key Greenwood issues do we want candidates to focus attention on?
We will have a general discussion about how the community council needs to change and react to the new district council context.  We will also hear from a group interested in promoting campaign finance reform in the city, and get an update on activities taking place on our committees and around the neighborhood.  Hope you can make it.
 
Proposed Agenda
 

7:00  Introductions and Agenda Review

7:10  Regan McBride, New Honest Elections Seattle Campaign
           
– Presentation on a proposal to create a public finance

              system for Seattle city elections
            – Q&A, Discussion

7:30  How should GCC adapt to new City Council Districts?
         Open Discussion

8:10  Updates and announcements – around the table
            – GCC committee activities

            – Other announcements

8:30  Adjourn


Please note that the Library’s garage closes at 8PM, so if you park in the library you will need to move your car before then.
 

[See Meeting Notes below the fold]

Greenwood Community Council meeting
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
 
7:05 call to order by Rob Fellows, president
VP, Secretary, Treasurer in attendance, along with several committee chairs, reps from Phinney and Haller Lake Community Councils
 
Agenda Item 1: Regan McBride from Honest Elections Seattle presents on Initiative 122:
 
“A new take on public financing”
 
Get money out of politics and level the playing field so all voices can be heard
 
All Seattle voters would receive 4 Democracy Vouchers, valued at $25 each, that they can give to candidates
I-122 reduces contribution limits from $750 to $250 for City Council, $500 for mayor
Limits lobbying for people leaving City Hall
Limits contributions by those with big contracts with City
Paid for by small increase in property tax – 2.5 cents per $1000 of assessed value
I-122 is gathering signatures, deadline is June 1.
 
The 2013 public financing initiative was placed on the ballot by the City Council, this initiative comes from the people.
 
Discussion among the group about the details and a lot of questions asked – how much money would theoretically be raised and spent via the Democracy Voucher? How do the spending caps work? Will candidates opt-in? Can we get more information on the mechanics of the initiative? Are there advantages and disadvantages to opting in (or opting out)? Why a Democracy Voucher as opposed to a matching program?
 
For more information: http://honestelectionsseattle.org
 
Agenda Item 2: Discussion about district elections for the City Council and what it means for community councils
 
Greenwood is split between two City Council districts – 5 and 6. How do we work with other community groups and how we work with the new City Council members?
 
Do we leave the Community Councils alone but maybe redraw the District Councils and redraw the DON districts (in terms of the district coordinators)? Lots of opinions here, pro and con, but no clear consensus on that specific question. Participants did share a desire to maximize the GCC’s influence. Discussion of how the City does its budgets – process is impenetrable and broken up by department and fiefdom, rather than by neighborhood or Council district. The beginning of a long conversation.
 
Committee updates
 
Land Use: Looking at 2035 Comp Plan update. Pedestrian Zone overlay – advocated for overlay on Greenwood from 81st to 83rd, CM O’Brien attached it to the City Council resolution. Met with SPU to talk about a CSO pump station near Holman QFC. Looking at Aurora-Licton Springs area plan. Next meeting is May 12.
 
Health and Safety: Working on preparedness planning. Effort to network various health and human service agencies in neighborhood to provide services for homeless and others in need. Sending a rep to North Precinct Advisory Council meetings. Next meeting has not been scheduled.
 
Transportation: Heard an SDOT presentation about the Move Seattle levy. We will need to act now to shape its priorities. Will include paving projects in the neighborhood and safety corridors on Greenwood and Aurora avenues. SDOT looking at ways to reduce and share costs for sidewalks. Groups advocating for safer access across Aurora to Wilson-Pacific school, including a light at 92nd and Aurora. Committee will draft a letter to City Council to suggest items to address. Meetings are first Mondays of month.
 
Outreach: Got a small grant to improve website. Meetings now on front page of site. Committee will also look at how to get involved with candidate forums for City Council. Next meeting date not yet determined.
 
Adjourn at 8:42 PM.

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