West Seattle, Washington
Somebody needs to take over the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council.
Longtime chair Mat McBride (right, WSB file photo) announced at this month’s DNDC meeting that it’s time for him to step away.
Three other people were at the meeting, held last Wednesday in the lobby of Neighborhood House High Point due to a key snafu. None of them volunteered on the spot to take over. One, in fact, said she had moved out of east West Seattle.
McBride’s long been a cheerful and energetic neighborhood advocate, with his 11 years of work including helping get other efforts launched, among them the now-dormant Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. He coordinated the volunteers who built a new Roxhill Park playground in 2012. Three years ago, on short notice, he turned a scheduled DNDC meeting into a defiant rally of neighborhood district council reps from around the city after then-Mayor Ed Murray announced he wanted to cut official ties with the groups.
Many of the NDCs kept going anyway, including Delridge – but now its future is uncertain. McBride planned to talk with at least one longtime member who wasn’t there Wednesday night. In the meantime, here’s what else he and the attendees discussed:
Live and/or work in eastern West Seattle? Jump into community involvement tomorrow (Wednesday) night as the Delridge Neighborhood District Council reconvenes. Reps from groups and organizations around the area comprise the DNDC, but all are welcome. It’s the only community group we know of that opens with hearty cheers for everyone in attendance! The meeting’s set for 7 pm Wednesday at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).
Four weeks from today, your ballot will be in the mail, and it’ll be almost time to vote in the primary. Highest-profile race in our area is of course City Council District 1, to decide which two of the three candidates will move on to the November general election. Last night, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council hosted two candidates for conversation-style appearances. Last month, Phil Tavel talked with the DNDC (WSB video coverage here), so this month, it was time to hear from and talk with Brendan Kolding and Lisa Herbold. About 25 people were there; each candidate spoke for 43 minutes, including Q&A. We again recorded it all.
If you don’t have time to watch – our toplines are below:
Seven weeks until the August 6th primary election – and only a month until voting starts, as ballots are sent out. Your next chance to see and hear candidates in our area’s highest-profile race is tomorrow. The reminder is from Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride:
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (DNDC) is pleased to present the second round of conversations with District 1 City Council candidates this Wednesday (6/19/19) at Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW) from 7-9 PM. Our guests for this event are Brendan Kolding and Lisa Herbold.
The format for this event allows you to make a personal connection with the candidates. Each will share a little information about themselves and then answer questions. Your questions. Casual and friendly, it’s an opportunity to meet the people and not just the positions.
All DNDC meetings are open to the public, and all are welcome.
The other District 1 candidate, Phil Tavel, was featured at DNDC’s May meeting; here’s our coverage, with video.
Two video clips from last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting:
TERMINAL 5: The Port of Seattle/Northwest Seaport Alliance reps continue making the rounds to answer community questions about the T-5 modernization project. (For extensive text coverage, see our report on the Southwest District Council appearance two weeks ago.)
CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: The DNDC had planned to hear from two of the remaining four who had announced campaigns for D-1, but only Phil Tavel showed up. Isaiah Willoughby had confirmed about two weeks ago, DNDC chair Mat McBride said, but didn’t show up. With one day left in filing week, he hasn’t filed, so we may be looking at a three-candidate race. The other two, Brendan Kolding and incumbent Lisa Herbold, are booked for the DNDC’s next meeting, 7 pm June 19th, Neighborhood House High Point, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.
Two election notes:
FILING WEEK BEGINS: Though local candidates have been able for months to register their campaigns with the state and city, they’re not officially ballot-bound until and unless they register with King County. The official Filing Week began today; by end of day Friday, would-be candidates file paperwork and pay fees as listed here (or submit one petition signature in lieu of each dollar of the fee). In what’s expected to be the year’s hottest race in our area, Brendan Kolding is the first to officially file for City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park). Another West Seattle/South Park position that will be on the ballot is Seattle School Board District 6; West Seattleite Molly Mitchell filed today to run. Here’s the full county list of who filed for what as of late today; the county will update that list twice daily between now and Friday.
CANDIDATE CONVERSATIONS: Your next public opportunity to hear from City Council District 1 candidates is Wednesday, when Phil Tavel and Isaiah Willoughby are scheduled guests at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, 7 pm Wednesday (May 15th) at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW). DNDC chair Mat McBride explains the format – not a debate or forum:
Each candidate will share some opening thoughts with you (probably related to things voters are interested in), and then we open up for dialog. It’s the same format DNDC uses with most of our guests (elected or otherwise), a good model that provides a personal connection.
Next month’s DNDC meeting, on June 19th, is scheduled to feature two more candidates, Kolding and incumbent Lisa Herbold.
A few notes from last night’s lightly attended Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting:
FORUM OR NO FORUM? Rather than have a candidates-side-by-side forum for the District 1 City Council race, DNDC will invite candidates in for one-at-a-time conversations during the next few meetings – say, one candidate at the meeting’s start, one at the end, to discuss Delridge-specific issues.
AS FOR THOSE ISSUES: One of next month’s biggest events in eastern West Seattle, the Bee Festival, will likely be an opportunity to check in with current community concerns. DNDC chair Mat McBride will be there. It was suggested he might consider a tried-and-true tactic from other community events, for example, inviting festivalgoers to create/add to a list of what’s on their minds.
SPEAKING OF FESTIVALS: Pete Spalding provided an update on Delridge Day in August, which continues to grow, this year adding Sustainable West Seattle‘s GreenLife (previously featured at Summer Fest in The Junction) and including e-bike tours with SWS’s Stu Hennessey (of Alki Bike and Board, a WSB sponsor) and skating lessons/competition overseen by Skate Like A Girl. Live music, too, plus returning features like Seattle Police “Picnic at the Precinct” demos and visitors.
DELRIDGE GROCERY: Doris Rahmig says the progress she reported at February’s DNDC meeting continues, with the co-op close to signing a contract with DESC for the space it’s long held for them at Cottage Grove Commons (5444 Delridge Way SW).
FUTURE TOPICS: Though DNDC has been focusing on neighborhood conversations rather than governmental guests, the Port of Seattle is interested in visiting a future DNDC meeting to talk about the Terminal 5 modernization work that’ll start soon.
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets the third Wednesday most months, 7 pm, currently at Neighborhood House High Point.
This past week, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council met for the first time this year. It was a chance to look ahead, in multiple ways.
POLICING PLANS: Taylor Lowery, this year’s Seattle University public-safety intern at the Southwest Precinct, said they’re now crunching the data and comments from the recent citywide Public Safety Survey. Related to that work the precinct’s operations commander Lt. Steve Strand said the precinct’s Microcommunity Policing Plan priorities for the year – three for each microneighborhood – is due March 6th, so starting next week they’ll be circulating drafts to the neighborhood groups with which police have partnered on those plans. Police capacity – response time, for example – so far is shaping up as a top concern.
Today is your last chance to comment via the newest “online open house” for Sound Transit’s West Seattle (and Ballard) light-rail extension. Light rail was one of many topics at the most recent Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, too:
SOUND TRANSIT ENGAGEMENT: Department of Neighborhoods community-engagement specialist Erin House was there to explain what the city is doing as part of the opinion-gathering as ST moves toward choosing a “preferred alternative” for route/station locations. She says the city has “several collaborative teams” working on the project, including how the stations might function: “For example, we’ve heard loud and clear that Delridge would like a grocery store.” There’s also a team working to ensure there’s “robust community engagement” with ST. Among other things, they’re supposed to be talking about how people will get to the stations. Though the nearest station will be in North Delridge, House said they also want to focus on how South Delridge will get there.
Highland Park Action Committee chair Charlie Omana asked her how engaged Metro is with the process. Metro’s role “is a big part of the conversation,” House replied. NDNC chair Mat McBride said there’s concern about the Delridge RapidRide conversion and the desire to keep the 120’s local service too, lest the RapidRide fill up at points south and “no one will be able to get on (the bus) in Delridge ever again.” That’s an equity issue, she was told, given Delridge’s diverse community. She noted that the city is using its Racial Equity Toolkit to review such issues. Back to light rail – once the station location is decided, “a whole conversation” will follow and they want to be sure it includes “everyone who’s going to be affected.” Mike Riedel from the South Delridge Community Group noted that outreach so far hasn’t stretched beyond North Delridge. House said they would be having more “casual conversations” with various neighborhood/community groups in October. She also said RapidRide H Line outreach is expected to continue with a fall open house in White Center (date TBA).
Along with that special guest, the meeting also included an update from police, plus news from NDNC member organizations:
Community-council meetings and district-council meetings are seldom “vote on something” type meetings. Far more often, the centerpieces are “did you know?” type presentations, as well as a chance for community advocates to share what they’re up to. And those were the components of this month’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting last Wednesday night at Highland Park Improvement Club.
Though the weather was better than the night of the February meeting – when snow was falling (remember?) – the turnout was lighter. Chair Mat McBride had booked one main guest, from an organization we hadn’t previously heard of, though it’s been active for some 30 years:
KING COUNTY DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER: Nilda Brooklyn visited to talk about the two main things this organization does: Direct mediation services (inside and outside the legal system), and training.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Seems like Sound Transit West Seattle light rail is Topic A everywhere.
One night before Thursday’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition presentation/discussion, it was also a big part of the agenda at Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting – including another potentially loud voice supporting tunneling along at least part of what’s been drafted as an all-elevated route.
So that’s where our report begins:
(From the draft map for Sound Transit’s West Seattle light rail)
CITY REP ON SOUND TRANSIT 3 LIGHT RAIL: Interested in some tunneling on the West Seattle light-rail line, now in the “early scoping” public-comment mode through March 5th? The city may be on your side. Lyle Bicknell came to speak with DNDC on behalf of the city’s interest in the ST3 planning process – he’s with the Office of Planning and Community Development – and talking about how to minimize the impacts of the upcoming light-rail project.
Those are – still – key points of Delridge concern about the upcoming conversion of Metro Route 120 into the RapidRide H Line. The points were made during the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council discussion last Wednesday night that wrapped up a weeklong round of in-person feedback about the plan, including the introduction of a proposed package of stops and road changes labeled “Option 3“:
(You’ll note that this includes rechannelization in some areas, which would include the removal of 270 on-street parking spaces in what are labeled as Sections C and E. SDOT says its studies showed 10 percent to 50 percent utilization of those spaces now.)
If you didn’t make it to any of the three recent events (a week before Delridge, Metro and SDOT held drop-in sessions in Burien and White Center), you might also want to scroll through the maps/renderings (below) that show how the stops would change along the route, plus specific changes proposed for Delridge/Holden and Delridge/Henderson:
(You can see the full-screen PDF version of those maps/renderings as pages 4-9 here.) The DNDC discussion of the Delridge plans followed the third SDOT/Metro open house of the week. We recorded the discussion on video:
Metro and SDOT reps were on hand for this as well. But it was far from the first time that neighborhood advocates including DNDC reps had spelled out the same concerns – including stop location/spacing – since the 120 is point-to-point transportation for many in the Delridge corridor, not just a way to get to and from downtown. The frustration was voiced at one point by DNDC’s Pete Spalding of Pigeon Point, who said this was at least the fifth time in three years that the group had listed its concerns. Michael Taylor-Judd of North Delridge wanted to be sure the project team was talking with groups including seniors who would be especially affected by an increase in stop spacing – while the third-of-a-mile spacing proposal is closer than RapidRide’s usual half-mile-apart spacing, it’s still a tenth-of-a-mile increase over the average on Delridge now.
YOUR FEEDBACK: If you have something to say about what’s currently under consideration for the Route 120/H Line conversion – where the stops are, how they’re spaced, and/or changes on Delridge – this is the time to say it, before the project team finalizes a recommended design, which will happen in the months ahead. RapidRide@seattle.gov is the address for project comments (though the county runs Metro, this is a joint project with SDOT, not only because of the road changes, but also because the city contributes funding for bus service). Design is to be completed this year, with construction of the stops and road changes starting in 2019 and continuing in 2020, when the H Line is to be launched.
When City Councilmember Lisa Herbold walked into Wednesday night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting after an all-day budget session, members and attendees happened to be talking about the future conversion of Metro Route 120 to the RapidRide H Line. The discussion never did get around to any of the hot topics that had dominated the day – and some previous days – at City Hall, such as the “head tax” or encampment removals aka “sweeps.”
The RapidRide talk went on for a while, especially concerns that a lot of feedback already had been offered in previous discussions, mostly with SDOT during what was at the time referred only to the Delridge Multimodal Corridor process, but the next round of “engagement” seemed to be oblivious to that. Herbold said her office has been talking with King County/Metro and promised she personally would jump in after votes next week conclude the budget-change process – which she’s been leading as Budget Committee chair, a role gained in a domino process of sorts that began with former Mayor Ed Murray‘s resignation.
The road itself has enough trouble, one attendee said, without even the prospect of more, bigger buses, noting a big hole that we suspect was the same one called to our attention with photos on Twitter:
Your ballot for the November 8th election is on the way. That adds extra weight to the final few weeks of candidate forums – with voters able to make their choices at any time. On Wednesday night, the candidates for City Council Position 8 – the citywide spot for which now-Mayor Tim Burgess chose not to run again – visited the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. Above is our video of the 48-minute forum, with candidates Jon Grant and Teresa Mosqueda. Housing affordability, homelessness, and transportation were the hot topics.
Mosqueda and Grant are due back in West Seattle tonight (Thursday), as part of the forum presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and West Seattle Transportation Coalition, which also will feature the Council Position 9 (Lorena González and Pat Murakami) and Mayor (Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon) candidates, 6:30 pm at American Legion Post 160 (3618 SW Alaska).
Also at the district-council meeting, before the candidates’ forum:
TRANSPORTATION: DNDC members want to hear from Metro and SDOT at future meetings, to talk about transportation along Delridge, including overcrowding on Routes 120 and 125. Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding noted that Metro needs to understand that the Delridge routes aren’t just about going downtown – those routes are the ones the people who live in the area use to travel around West Seattle.
CITY BUDGET: Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki asked everyone to pay attention to the City Council budget discussions about where to deploy LEAD – Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion – which Highland Park has been asking for, for years. Earlier this week, councilmembers talked primarily about using it in the North and South Precincts, not the Southwest. Also discussed, pavement problems on 26th SW, and all were urged to contact City Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s office to ask for paving funds to be used to fix it.
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets third Wednesdays most months, 7 pm, rotating locations, currently Highland Park Improvement Club.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One huge question about the taking-shape plans for the Delridge RapidRide line was answered during this week’s briefing for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council: Which stops are proposed for removal when Route 120 is turned into the H Line in 2020?
The list was in the slide deck brought to the DNDC meeting Wednesday night at Highland Park Improvement Club by SDOT’s Thérèse Casper and Dawn Schellenberg, two days after the project “online open house” went live (as reported here), asking for opinions about two potential concepts.
Their slide deck began with background including the plan to “upgrade” Route 120 to RapidRide, between downtown Seattle, Delridge, and Burien. It’ll be under construction in 2019 and in service in 2020, according to the current plan. Casper said the way had been paved by discussions in recent years regarding various transportation-related plans – the Delridge multi-modal corridor discussion, Freight Master Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, etc.
Along the Delridge section of the route, Casper said, conditions are as follows:
Topline from tonight’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, which just wrapped up at Highland Park Improvement Club:
HOW CAN COMMUNITY GROUPS & NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATIONS HELP LOCAL SCHOOLS? That question led to the guest appearance of James Bush from Seattle Public Schools. Chair Mat McBride, for example, said that while he tends to compartmentalize “community stuff” and “school stuff” in his mind – he’s an SPS parent – “they’re the same stuff.” Read More
Both of West Seattle’s neighborhood-district councils have now had their first meetings since the city’s official severing of ties and financial support.
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council met Wednesday night for the first time this year, continuing its third-Wednesday meetings but changing the location for the first quarter – it’s meeting at Highland Park Improvement Club through March rather than at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.
One of the biggest topics of the meeting was another meeting – 7 pm next Wednesday (January 25th), also at HPIC, several local community councils are co-sponsoring the “State of Delridge” (as in, eastern West Seattle) with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Even as the City Council gets closer to finalizing the city budget containing the resolution formalizing the mayor’s slashing of ties with neighborhood district councils, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council is charging forward, and even growing.
Here’s what happened at its meeting last night:
DISTRICT COUNCIL’S FUTURE: Chair Mat McBride says that so far, discussions have focused on having the group work more as a cooperative as it goes forward, centered on how the groups at the table can “assist each other” in meeting their goals for the Delridge community. Certainly the group might still seek the occasional city presentation, but those likely won’t be as common, as the focus will remain more intra-Delridge.
One member asked what engagement with the city will look like from now on. “What do you think it should look like?” asked Pete Spalding. “I think it’s up to us now.”
Other topics of discussion included where to meet – an issue now that the city will no longer be providing the ~$500 annual funding that covered costs of renting meeting venues. It was decided that at least for the first quarter of next year, the group will meet at Highland Park Improvement Club. The meetings will still be 7 pm on third Wednesdays. As per longstanding tradition, DNDC won’t meet in December, so its next meeting will be January 18th.
What about the area covered by the council? asked one member – should it be smaller? larger? Could be bigger, McBride acknowledged. Some wondered if South Park might be a good addition. In the meantime, the list of member groups/organizations/institutions grew by one last night: Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“The mayor got it wrong. Ms. Nyland has it wrong, too. … We represent more than who we are in this room.”
That declaration from Willard Brown of DNDA summarized what many of his fellow members of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council said on Wednesday night, as a key part of the meeting focused on Mayor Ed Murray and Department of Neighborhoods director Kathy Nyland‘s intent to cut city support for the city’s 13 district councils.
The meeting’s other major component: A review of the five community proposals seeking Neighborhood Street Fund grant money, which DNDC members will be re-ranking now that SDOT has completed its assessment of the top-ranked proposals and what they’re likely to cost.
DISTRICT COUNCILS’ FUTURE: Chairing the meeting, Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council‘s Pete Spalding recapped how DNDC had hosted a citywide meeting at the Highland Park Improvement Club in July (WSB coverage, with video, here) to talk about the mayor’s “shocking” announcement days earlier about cutting off city support for district councils, as part of a reshaping of the city’s “engagement” policies.
Seven weeks have passed since the mayor’s abrupt announcement that the city would lurch away from the longstanding District Council system and look for new ways of “engagement.” As part of that, the Department of Neighborhoods has been running an online survey (with promotion including paid ads here on WSB and other places). The District Councils, including the two in West Seattle, are in the meantime about to resume their meetings after the traditional August break. And Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride, who turned the group’s last meeting into a rally of sorts with reps from DCs around the city, has just issued an invitation in this open letter to City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Lorena González, Tim Burgess, and Rob Johnson, which we’re publishing with permission:
Esteemed City Council members (representing D1, At-Large, and Neighborhoods Committee),
I am requesting your presence at the September meeting of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting on Wednesday, September 21. The DNDC is very interested in having a conversation with you regarding community, engagement, and the future of the District Council system within DoN (we’ll also be ranking NSF grants that evening, in case you wanted to observe a DC in action).
District Coordinator Kerry Wade will follow up with an agenda, including specific time and location once it’s finalized. Your RSVP is appreciated.
Chair, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council
PS, in case you haven’t been following DoN’s Engage Seattle poll, it’s a good read. All responses and comments (predominantly by white middle-aged homeowners, which I suppose raises some ironic existential questions) are published. Recommended reading, and if you haven’t taken the poll, I suggest doing so.
Quite a few comments have been made in support of the District Council System (side note – good on you for making all responses transparent, even those that highlight flaws in this latest proposed revision of DoN). And they’re right to do so, the District Council System (DoN’s, not City Council’s) is vital.
Democracy has to be public. Not solely, and there’s a lot of good suggestions about how to enhance the process and increase engagement. But it’s the District Councils, through a relationship officially observed by the City, that provide this function. It is vital to have public discussion with City representatives and elected officials. It is vital to challenge assumptions. It is vital to provide a forum in which the public can champion or object to issues, initiatives, or proposals within a specific geography. Because at the end of the day, it comes down to people doing things. Not taking a poll, not reading a newsletter, not submitting a comment to a blog, but actual honest-to-goodness engagement. Communities are made of people that come together and unite over a common goal. Where technology can enhance and assist this process, it absolutely should. But without an established network and designated place for that to manifest, it’s meaningless. Community is local, friends, and you have to make local work.
So, how to accomplish this? The best solution is also the easiest – restore the DoN District Coordinator staff to pre-2008 levels.
When the cuts first came, and again when they continued, community leaders predicted the exact circumstance we find ourselves in today – the fraying of the social network to the extent that it struggles to provide its most basic functions. The District Coordinators served as the glue within each District, themselves clusters of communities. It’s a big job, and staffed appropriately, it works great – an individual with a comprehensive knowledge of the individuals and organizations operating within the District is able to coordinate and direct active and emerging civic engagement to promote or fulfill the goal of serving the community. The act of networking people is the single most successful way to disseminate information – we have never been able to improve on talking to each other (not that we should). Humans can consume a huge amount of data, and most of it is not registered as important. This is especially true of communication by local government to citizens. If you want your message communicated, you need peer-level discussions within the community. Since most City correspondence is dry and boring (on the surface, anyway), you need citizens who will consume it regardless, translate salient points as necessary to make it accessible, and explain why it’s important to care about. And then, you really need them to talk about it.
Good news! You’ve had that model in place for the last 28 years. By most assessments, it’s past the “Proof of Concept” phase. Success is built upon the enhancement and improvement of existing infrastructure. The dismantling of an established and proven institution, which is to be replaced by an untested concept, is – well, it’s a singularly terrible idea. Restore the District Councils, and commit to enhancing them through all the excellent suggestions for improvement that I’ve read from other respondents to this survey.
As for the upcoming District Council meetings – everyone, as always, is invited. The Southwest District Council is expecting Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre at 6:30 pm Wednesday, September 7th, at the Sisson Building/Senior Center in The Junction (California/Oregon).
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council mentioned above will be on Wednesday, September 21st – as Mat McBride wrote, time and location to be finalized, and we’ll publish an update when that happens.
Story by Tracy Record
Video/photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
“Let’s not throw out the whole system – let’s make it better.”
That was the theme last night for a gathering of longtime community volunteers who were, at times, furious:
“We are owed an apology. In a city known internationally for volunteerism, we have a mayor who has vilified volunteers … it’s inexcusable.”
At times, gracious:
“What resonates in this room is the hope and optimism you all bring to the table.”
And at times, incredulous:
“The news last week was a surprise.”
That last declaration is how Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, began last night’s gathering, a dramatic expansion of what was supposed to be a routine, “sleepy” monthly edition of the DNDC’s meeting, and instead, because of a mayoral decree a week earlier, became a rally of reps from the city’s 13 NDCs. Here’s our video of the entire gathering, in two parts:
The objective, as McBride described it, was to show that the “13 District Councils … are representative of more than the narrative we are currently being cast by … that a bad decision has been made, and that bad decisions can and should be reversed.”
That “narrative” was the July 13th mayoral declaration that the groups should be thrown on the scrap heap (WSB coverage here), replaced to a yet-to-be-outlined “engagement” system with an appointed “Community Involvement Commission,” because members are allegedly mostly older white homeowners. (The survey that made the proclamation has been called into question, as has the inference that the volunteers should be cut loose because of their age, race, and economic status.)
“Right now if you read the [regional] press, you’ll see a story that district councils have 15 people … tend to be white, tend to be old, tend to own houses. (But) when a district council gathers, hundreds, thousands of people are represented at the table … we are a representative democracy. It is not true, the story that’s currently being told.”
We counted at least 60 people in the room at Highland Park Improvement Club; McBride greeted them all in DNDC style – cheering and hand-waving – calling out the names of each Neighborhood District Council that was here, and then asking for a show of hands from those representing other groups, such as the community councils that feed into the ND councils.
He acknowledged that some of what’s in the report – the need to expand the groups’ means of outreach – are things that district council members agree with, things they’ve been suggesting, requesting, for years.
So what is it these groups DO do?
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As first reported here on Sunday, this week’s monthly meeting of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council has expanded to a call for, in effect, a summit of neighborhood-district council members and supporters from around the city. Wednesday’s gathering at Highland Park Improvement Club will come one week after Mayor Murray cut short a City Council-ordered review of the neighborhood-district-council system by declaring he intended to cut city ties to and support for the councils.
More on the meeting below – but first: We now have the report that was due out last Friday, expected to start the next phase of a conversation about the 13 councils, until the mayor’s move on Wednesday. Read it here. It’s the Department of Neighborhoods‘ official response to the City Council’s Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) from last year that “required the (department) to develop a plan to reorient its programs around the new City Council district structure with a primary focus on the Neighborhood District Coordinator (NDC) program and a goal for more equitable community engagement.”
The report dated Friday (July 15th) incorporates mentions of the executive order the mayor unveiled and signed two days earlier. It declares:
Just found out about this – it’s an update to our standing calendar listing for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting (coming up this Wednesday), and an update to the mention in our latest edition of WSB EXTRA:
Pete Spalding from the DNDC tells WSB that in the wake of Mayor Murray‘s announcement last week about cutting city ties with, and support for, neighborhood-district councils (WSB coverage here), DNDC is inviting DC reps from all over the city to their meeting at 7 pm Wednesday. It’s moving locations to Highland Park Improvement Club for the occasion.
Spalding says the goal will be a discussion of “what the DCs bring to our neighborhoods, the city, and its agencies – (not a) bash-the-mayor event but more along the lines of what we have (accomplished) and can accomplish with more city support in addition to what we already do.” Public welcome as always. HPIC is at 12th SW/SW Holden. Watch for more on this.