Get Engaged on our Boards & Commissions

Are you age 18-29 and interested in participating in city government?

Consider joining one of our boards and commissions:

  • The Community Involvement Commission works to ensure that City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation.
  • The Seattle Renters’ Commission provides information, advice, and counsel to the Mayor, Seattle City Council, and departments concerning issues and policies affecting renters.
  • The Landmarks Preservation Board assists the city with identification of potential landmarks, makes decisions on landmark designations, and makes recommendations to the City Council on landmark controls.
  • The Pioneer Square Preservation Board works to preserve, protect and enhance the historic and architectural character of Pioneer Square.

You can apply to join through the YMCA’s Get Engaged program, which places young adults ages 18-29 on City of Seattle’s public boards and commissions. Get Engaged commissioners serve a one-year term starting September each year.

Applications for the 2018-2019 cohort are now available. The deadline to apply is May 31!

Learn more about the Get Engaged program and apply at: seattleymca.org/accelerator/leadershipdevelopment/getengaged.

 

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City’s new Community Involvement Commission gets to work

Many of you may be wondering what our Community Involvement Commission (CIC) has been up to, so we wanted to provide a quick recap and update.

Progress

The commission was established last year and has been focused on creating best practices for outreach and engagement and developing guidelines and recommendations for how to achieve equitable and inclusive community involvement. They have been meeting since August 2017. In that time, they have:

  • held seven in-person meetings
  • adopted a decision-making process
  • created bylaws
  • elected co-chairs
  • recruited 2 new commissioners
  • laid the foundation for creating a work plan

The commission has also held five internal briefings with representatives from: Seattle Department of Neighborhoods leadership, the Mayor’s external relations and outreach team, Seattle Department of Transportation’s Transportation Equity Program, the Office of Planning & Community Development’s Equitable Development Initiative, and the Your Voice, Your Choice participatory budgeting program.

Impact

Their meeting with the Your Voice, Your Choice (YVYC) team highlights a good example of the role the CIC can play in shaping future outcomes. At the September meeting, the YVYC team provided an overview of their program plans for 2018. The commissioners offered feedback and asked some tough questions to help guide the program team in tackling equity concerns. One of their suggestions centered on the YVYC team’s plan to create a Steering Committee to help guide the program on issues of equity and accountability. CIC members pointed out that participation on such a committee would require time and resources that many people from underserved communities do not have. They suggested offering compensation to Steering Committee members in order to address this concern and create more access for communities of color and individuals with lower income.

The YVYC team left that meeting with a lot of ideas and went to work to find ways to incorporate the feedback they received. The final program updates reflected many of the CIC’s suggestions, including the creation of a consultation fee for YVYC Steering Committee members: these members are now being compensated $50/hour in recognition of their time, talent, and commitment to shaping the future outcomes of the program.

This is just a small example of the impact the CIC can have on City projects and programs. But it is these kinds of small steps that can really begin to have a big impact.

Get Involved

As the commission continues to build a foundation and create a comprehensive work plan, they welcome your feedback and input. Here are ways you can get involved:

Contact Danielle Friedman, CIC staff liaison, to request time on their agenda or ask general questions: danielle.friedman@seattle.gov or 206-256-5973.

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Meet Our Community Involvement Commission (aka Equity Champions): Felix Chang

The Community Involvement Commission (CIC) will ultimately be comprised of 16 equity champions who will work to ensure that our City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation. They will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.

 

Felix Chang
Mayoral Appointee: Get Engaged Program

Felix Chang is a design researcher at Artefact. He collaborates with multidisciplinary teams and coaches industry-leading clients on design thinking to create innovative, socially impactful solutions. Before Artefact, Felix worked at IBM’s new design division, where he empowered dozens of product teams and Fortune 500 organizations to gain greater empathy for their users. His research in cognitive psychology at Stanford University examined how virtual reality might help reduce social stigma. His passion for creating positive outcomes for people has led to work with education technology labs at Stanford School of Medicine and Columbia University, invited talks at international conferences including SXSW Interactive, and volunteer and program development work with single mothers and aspiring first-generation college students.

 

 

What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?

During our final meeting, my college thesis advisor asked me, “What are you doing after school? Are you going to just have a job? Or are you going to do work that helps people?” His challenge has stayed with me. I believe that helping to advance equity and inclusion in Seattle, to unite communities and ensure their voices are heard, is the best possible use of time.

 

We’ve taken to calling our Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” Do you accept this superhero moniker and what does it mean to you personally?

While I definitely think capes are fun, I’m not a superhero, just a Seattleite who will work very hard to engage residents, officials, and departments from throughout the City. I believe that a city cannot truly thrive if it is inequitable – we must ensure that diverse Seattle communities have a seat at the table. That’s something I’m glad to champion.

 

What is your unique real-life superpower?

As a researcher who talks to people every day to learn what their lives are like, I think my real-life super power is energizing and helping people gain empathy for others. Also, eating lots of ice cream, very quickly.

 

What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?

I hope that City officials and departments will have greater empathy and better account for the challenges, needs, and desires of Seattleites not only when evaluating policies and programs, but when creating them. I also hope that Seattle can serve as a model for impactful resident engagement and collaborate with other cities to advance equity and inclusion practices.

 

Which local organization or person do you consider to be a true superhero and why?

Year Up does great work to promote equity in the workforce. Its programs not only equip young adults from low-income backgrounds with valuable skills and knowledge, they facilitate relationships with mentors and connect students to meaningful professional opportunities.

 

Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.

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Meet Our Community Involvement Commission (aka Equity Champions): Alison Turner

The Mayor and Seattle City Council recently announced the initial 13 appointees selected to serve on the City of Seattle’s new Community Involvement Commission (CIC). The CIC will ultimately be comprised of 16 equity champions who will work to ensure that our City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation. They will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.

 

Alison Turner

Alison Turner
City Council Appointee: District 4

Alison Turner grew up in Bothell, Washington, and has lived in Seattle for over a decade. A designer and urbanist, Alison is interested in urban planning as public health and how our built environment can serve everyone. Her experience includes working as the Policy & Advocacy Intern at the Housing Development Consortium, and doing research and writing for Transportation Choices Coalition. Alison graduated from the University of Washington in June 2017 with a degree in Community, Environment and Planning. In her spare time, she likes to bicycle around town, explore our great outdoors, dance, and make things.

 

What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?

I had been following the development of the commission after the finding that the neighborhood councils were not representative of Seattle residents. I went back to school because I wanted to make a difference in the community and this seemed like a perfect opportunity, especially with my graduation from the University of Washington coming up. Being a long-time renter living in Seattle, I have experienced this city through recession and prosperity. I am very concerned that the current economic boom is not equitably benefiting everyone in Seattle and I believe that we need to do much more to ensure that our city grows inclusively.

 

We’ve taken to calling our Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” Do you accept this superhero moniker and what does it mean to you personally?

Yes, I do. I decided to go back to school to study urban planning because I saw that the design of the built environment has so much influence on our health. I also realize that power largely determines where things get built and I believe that a more equitable distribution of power is necessary for a better future.

 

What is your unique real-life superpower?

Infectious laughter.

 

What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?

I hope that the Commission will provide a space for real dialogue about how our city can mitigate displacement and grow inclusively.  I am very excited to get to work and see what we can accomplish together.

 

Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.

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Meet Our Community Involvement Commission (aka Equity Champions): Mark Mendez

The Mayor and Seattle City Council recently announced the initial 13 appointees selected to serve on the City of Seattle’s new Community Involvement Commission (CIC). The CIC will ultimately be comprised of 16 equity champions who will work to ensure that our City departments are creating and implementing equitable engagement strategies that lead to more relevant and impactful public participation. They will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.

 

Mark Mendez

Mark Mendez
City Council Appointee: District 5

Mark Mendez was born and raised in Seattle, WA; and grew up in the Lake City neighborhood in NE Seattle.  His father is from the US territory of Puerto Rico and his mother grew up in Lake City.  Mark graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Political Science and from Seattle University with a Master’s in Public Administration.

Mark has worked for the YMCA, Seattle Goodwill, South Seattle College, and now for Seattle Parks and Recreation. He is currently managing leadership and career readiness programs for underserved youth in the North Seattle area (https://enjoylakecity.org/just-the-beginning/). Throughout his career, Mark has had a passion for bringing together a network of partners to ensure Seattle area youth and adults, especially low-income and communities of color, get the education, training, and resources they need to be successful and obtain high-quality careers.

Mark was the Co-Chair for the North District Council for two years and is currently on the board of Lake City Neighborhood Alliance.  He is also Co-Chair of the Olympic Hills Neighborhood Council and on the business development committee for Lake City Future First.  Mark has been advocating and community organizing with his neighbors around a variety of equity issues in his neighborhood.

 

What inspired you to serve on the Community Involvement Commission?

I want to be on the Community Involvement Commission to help advise and guide City of Seattle departments to assess, improve, and develop authentic and thorough outreach and engagement to all residents in Seattle.  I want to help ensure North Seattle receives equity in terms of City programming and funding.  For example, the Lake City neighborhood is one of the poorest and most diverse neighborhoods in Seattle; however, since Lake City is in North Seattle there’s a perception that Lake City lacks diversity and is not underserved.  In fact, the Lake City neighborhood has one of the highest poverty census tracts in Seattle, and is experiencing tremendous growth in numbers of children who are low-income, immigrants, have special needs, who are currently or formerly homeless, and seniors who are low-income.

 

We’ve taken to calling our Community Involvement Commissioners “EQUITY CHAMPIONS!” Do you accept this superhero moniker and what does it mean to you personally?

I think there are a lot of “Equity Champions” in our City.  I would be honored to be called one, but I think there are many more people that I look up to that I would call an “Equity Champion” before me.  For example, Seattle’s Gang of Four: Bernie Whitebear, Bob Santos, Roberto Maestas, and Larry Gossett, who founded Seattle’s Minority Executive Directors Coalition.

 

What is your unique real-life superpower?

Learning new things, networking, and bringing different groups of people together for community building projects.

 

What do you hope the Community Involvement Commission will bring to the City?

I hope the Community Involvement Commission will help empower the City with tools to assess, improve, and develop authentic and thorough outreach and engagement to all residents in Seattle.  I hope the City will truly support outreach efforts to underserved communities with sufficient funding and expertise.  For example, as Co-Chair for the North District Council, one of the major barriers for outreach in our underserved communities was the lack of funding for interpreters and translators to communicate with our underserved communities.  If the City truly wants to be equitable in outreach and empowering our underserved communities, then the City should fund the resources necessary to outreach and empower our underserved communities.

 

Which local organization or person do you consider to be a true superhero and why?

The Gang of Four: in the politics of Seattle, Washington.  “Gang of Four” (also, sometimes “The Four Amigos“) refers to Bernie Whitebear, Bob Santos, Roberto Maestas, and Larry Gossett, who founded Seattle’s Minority Executive Directors Coalition.

All four were associated with radical minority rights activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and all went on to leadership roles. Whitebear founded the Seattle Indian Health Board and the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. Santos was a prominent leader among Seattle’s Asian Americans, director of the Asian Coalition. Maestas was the founder and director of El Centro de la Raza. Gossett founded the Central Area Motivation Program and went on to public office as a member of the King County Council.

 

Learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/community-involvement-commission.

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