Mayor Murray and Seattle City Council nominate appointees for the Community Involvement Commission

Today, Mayor Edward Murray and the Seattle City Council announced their appointees to the City’s new Community Involvement Commission (CIC). Created by Executive Order 2016-06  issued by Mayor Murray last year, the 16-member commission will advise the City on priorities, policies, and strategies related to equitable civic engagement and public participation in City decision-making processes. It will also provide feedback on the development of City departments’ community involvement plans.

“In order for Seattle to reach its full potential, all residents including those representing under-represented and under-served communities must have the opportunity to participate in the City’s decision making and planning processes,” said Mayor Murray. “The commissioners will have a critical role in guiding the City toward more accessible and equitable community engagement, and I look forward to their ideas and counsel so that the City’s efforts ensure that all voices are heard.”

Nearly 300 individuals applied for 13 CIC positions to be appointed by the Mayor and City Council – six selected by the Mayor and seven by City Council (by Council District). One additional Mayoral appointee will be selected through the Get Engaged program, and CIC members will nominate individuals to fill the two remaining positions later this year. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.

“We have a creative, diverse, geographically representative group of appointees who will help strengthen the way neighborhood participation occurs in 21st century Seattle,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide). “The Commission will have an array of engagement tools at our fingertips, from web surveys, to telephone town halls, to social media, and in-person meetings.”

Below is the list of the newly appointed members of the Community Involvement Commission:

Mayor Ed Murray Appointees:            

Julie Pham

Alex Hudson

Bereket Kiros

Sonja Basha

Emily Kim

Jenna Franklin

City Council Appointees:

District 1: Jennifer Calleja

District 2: Thais Marbles

District 3: Natalie Curtis

District 4: Alison Turner

District 5: Mark Mendez

District 6: Ben Mitchell

District 7: Patricia Akiyama

The City Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee will discuss and possibly vote on the CIC appointments at its May 26 and June 7 meetings.  The meetings will begin at 9:30 a.m. in City Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2.

For more information or for questions, contact Sara Belz at (206) 684-8696 or email sara.belz@seattle.gov. You can also learn more about the Community Involvement Commission at the following website.

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Mayor: New community engagement plan will bring more diverse neighborhood voices before the City

Mayor Ed Murray today signed an executive order to bring greater equity to the City’s outdated system for promoting public engagement among residents of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

“Our city has changed dramatically since our District Councils system was created three decades ago, and we have seen them over time become less and less representative not only of their neighborhoods but of Seattle itself,” said Murray. “For immigrants and refugees, low-income residents, communities of color, renters, single parents, youth, people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ, and more, the system today has become a barrier for many to become involved in the City’s decision-making process. Now is the time to recreate our outreach and engagement process to become more accessible and inclusive, and to account for the ways that people communicate and connect in the 21st century.”

The District Council system, established in 1987, includes thirteen area-based councils whose membership includes local residents representing their neighborhood’s community council, business associations, and nonprofit organizations. In 2009, the City Auditor issued a strongly-worded report advocating for a reset of the District Council system, due in part to the low-level of diverse representation on the district councils.

In 2013, a demographic snapshot of District Council attendees showed that they tend to be 40 years of age or older, Caucasian, with the vast majority owning their homes. At least six District Councils had no reported people of color attending, and only three District Councils reported any African American attendees.

Murray’s executive order directs City departments to begin developing robust community engagement plans, and takes steps toward dissolving the City’s ties to each of the thirteen district councils. The district councils may still exist, but Department of Neighborhoods’ resources that previously supported the district councils will be redirect to support all City departments in these efforts. Throughout the month of August, the Department of Neighborhoods will conduct civic engagement focus groups. By September 26, the department will also draft legislation for a new citywide community engagement framework and strategic plan, including a new Seattle Community Involvement Commission to be established by January 2017. The Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle IT are also directed to submit a digital engagement plan by March 1, 2017 to broaden public accessibility.

“How we reach out to residents to bring them into the governing process reflects the City’s fundamental commitment to equity and to democracy,” said Murray. “We’re constantly looking to bring down barriers, to open up more opportunities, and to reflect the face of our diverse and growing city. I know that community members have committed untold hours serving on the district councils over the years: this change is about distributing opportunity for community input, not taking it away.”

An FAQ on today’s announcement can be found here.

 

 

Full video of the Seattle Neighborhood Summit

Welcome from Mayor Murray:

How We Engage — Seattle Civic Health Index Report by Diane Douglas, Executive Director of CityClub:

How We Organize — Resolution #27709 by Jim Street, Former Seattle City Councilmember:

Public Input — The Search for a New Transportation Director:

How We Communicate — A Demonstration of Consider.It, a new online engagement technology

Closing Remarks from Mayor Murray:

Mayor Murray: ‘Greater respect’ means a ‘greater community.’

Updated 4:09 p.m.

On Saturday, Mayor Murray hosted the Seattle Neighborhood Summit at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall where hundreds of Seattle residents participated in community engagement sessions, talked with City department representatives, and learned from one another during peer networking sessions.

The Mayor saw this summit as a way to work on building a healthier relationship between City government and Seattle neighborhoods. “This Summit is meant to be the beginning of a conversation and resetting of tone,” he said. “The idea of community is working together. That’s what we have to remember as we move forward. That’s what we have to renew.”

The Mayor asked the crowd to, no matter what, stay engaged. He also encouraged everyone in the room to rethink the way they approach controversial, and sometimes frustrating, policy conversations. “You might think that microhousing is the worst idea in the world, but the important thing is that we respect each other, listen to each other, and try and solve our differences.”

The event included a presentation from Diane Douglas of CityClub on Seattle’s “Civic Health,” a look back at how the City’s relationship with neighborhoods was originally structured by former City Councilmember Jim Street, a public comment period about what attendees were looking for in the next Department of Transportation Director, and a technology demo of a new online civic engagement tool called Consider.It.

Seattle Channel has full video of the day’s events, you can view lots of photos on our Flickr page and take a look back at the live event blog to get a good sense of the day.