Ian: As Vancouver neighbourhoods clamour for more local representation and authority and control, Seattle went the other way.

From Crosscut:


Mayor Ed Murray dissolved all formal ties between the city and the 13 neighborhood District Councils last Wednesday, upending a system three decades old. Since then, reaction has ranged from surprise and anger from the district councilmembers, to praise from the system’s critics, who argue it isn’t representative of Seattle’s modern demographics. …

In announcing his executive order, Murray pointed to a 2013 report on District Council demographics, noting that attendees of these councils were largely middle-aged white homeowners. Less than half reported having any people of color in their ranks.

“Our city has changed dramatically in the three decades since the district councils were created,” Murray said. “We have to find out how we reach people who can’t go at 7pm to a neighborhood meeting in a community center or church basement … immigrants and refugees, low income residents, communities of color, renters, youth, they’re not part of this process.”

The decision means the Department of Neighborhoods will no longer dedicate staff time and resources to supporting the District Councils. It also directs the department to begin creating a new outreach and engagement framework that emphasizes equity and inclusion of a wide range of Seattleites, something Murray says the District Council system does not do. …

Full story here.