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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Sep 23 2009


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Community Photostream:

  • An Evening with the Greater Duwamish District Council

On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, I had the pleasure to spend time with the great people of the Greater Duwamish District Council. Led by Chair Kathy Nyland, the group met at the Beacon Hill Library. At the meeting, I discussed my recently announced “10 Technology Initiatives for 2010,” City Light, broadband and the different races for office.

I am always impressed when I meet with groups like this because they are comprised of people who really care about their neighborhood and the City as a whole. The volunteer service they provide is invaluable.

  • September 22, 2009 – City Council Town Hall Meeting

Monday evening, September 22, 2009, was the third Seattle City Council Town Hall meeting. The meeting took place at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club and was attended by nearly 200 people. What a great turn out! It was great to see so many people take time out of their busy personal lives to attend this event and engage with Councilmembers.

  • June 16, 2009 – Let’s Engage: City Council Town Hall Meeting

On Monday, June 15, the City Council held the first of two Town Hall meetings (the second is scheduled for June 25). The meeting was held in the Eckstein Middle School Auditorium and was attended by 25-30 people. In addition to these engaged citizens, I was joined by my colleagues: Council President Richard Conlin, Councilmember Tim Burgess, Councilmember Sally Clark, Councilmember Jan Drago, Councilmember Jean Godden and Councilmember Nick Licata. The discussion revolved around prevention of youth violence, excellence in schools and our urban forest and declining tree canopy. Those in attendance were very astute on their subjects of interest and provoked some great discussion. I commend all of those who attended this meeting on a nice summer evening. I appreciate their activity and passion for issues that impact our city. My goal on the Council is to listen as much as I lead. I believe our effectiveness can be measured by how well we listen to the voices of our neighborhoods.

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  • June 11, 2009 – An Evening with the 34th District

On the evening of June 10, 2009, I had the pleasure of attending the meeting of the 34th District Democrats. Every time I attend meetings of the 34th, I am always impressed by the exciting energy and the level of engagement that members bring. It was great to see friends like PCO J. Mike Sweeney. Mike remembers seeing my 52-year old-brother crawling as a 1-year-old. Mike’s father knew my mother when she was in high school. I also had the opportunity to meet PCO Chris Jansen, whose brother has a similar story to mine: local student, athlete and community activist.

In addition to meeting some great people, I was also able to witness the candidate forum. I stayed until the very last one (Port Commissioner) to understand how they all think and how all the elements of leadership will fit together. Questions that were asked reflect the 34th’s sense of community and neighborhood. Questions included how one would address clean up of the Duwamish; parking meters at the West Seattle Junction; and understanding why the decriminalization of addiction makes sense.

As an at-large elected official, I see myself as a link for this group, because I serve all citizens in all neighborhoods. I grew up playing in West Seattle, sleeping at Camp Long during the summer, playing football and meeting Jesse Owens in West Seattle Stadium. We’re all in this together.

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  • May 7, 2009 – Queen Anne Community Council

On the evening of May 6, 2009, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Queen Anne Community Council. The meeting took place in the McClure Middle School Library and was attend by approximately 25 Queen Anne residents.

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It was my pleasure to witness the leadership of Ellen Monrad, president, and Kirk Robbins, vice president, as well as observe the respect and professionalism that members displayed toward one another. I began the discussion by describing my work to keep City Light rates low by proper fiscal scrutiny, my Public Engagement Portal Initiative, my efforts in Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) disposal, the digital TV transition issues, the gang violence/youth mentoring work that I have continued and my position on two-way Mercer and Fire Station 20. I enjoyed the discussion with these very insightful and engaged members. It was my hope to impress upon them my values and decision making criteria on major pieces of legislation. A follow-up meeting on Fire Station 20 was confirmed.

I am always grateful to be given the opportunity to spend time with neighborhood groups in our city. These groups are filled with committed volunteer activists who do a great deal of work in the interest of making Seattle a better place to live. The people of the Queen Anne Community Council are good examples of strong community activism and engagement. It was my pleasure to spend the evening in their company.

  • March 18, 2009 – An Evening with the 43rd District

On Tuesday, March 17th I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the meeting of the 43rd District Democrats. The meetings take place in the University Heights Community Center in the U-District, just a short distance from where I once lived. It is always nice to return to this neighborhood where I have many great memories and more importantly, home to the great Democrat activists of the 43rd.

The meeting opened up with officer reports and very brief introductions of City Council candidates Rusty Williams, Jessie Israel, Jordan Royer, David Ginsberg and David Bloom. The meeting continued on with stump speeches by King County Executive candidates Larry Phillips and Dow Constantine. The remainder of the meeting consisted of a panel discussion regarding the state of residential housing in our city. Panelists included my colleague, Councilmember Sally Clark, founder and editor of Seattle Bubble, Timothy Ellis and Michelle Thomas with the Tenants Union of Washington State. The panelists knew the subject well and provided great discussion.

I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to have some agenda time in order to “check in” with my friends in the 43rd and share with them my work and listen to their concerns. I met some great people, had some great conversations and always appreciate the discussions that I am able to have with people at these functions. It is a great way to stay apprised of what it is that really matters to people.

  • March 13, 2009 – 36th District

On Thursday, March 12, staff member Michael Jerrett attended the meeting of the 36th District Democrats in Ballard. There was a good crowd of people on hand who were provided stump speeches by City Council candidates, David Bloom, James Donaldson, Rusty Williams, Jessie Israel and Councilmember Nick Licata. King County Councilmember Larry Phillips had time on the agenda where he discussed his priorities as a candidate for King County Executive and then fielded several questions.

In addition to all of the candidates, there was discussion of recently passed legislation in Olympia. More specifically, Senate Bill 5840, which decreases the stringency of I-937 on utilities in Washington State. Subsequently, the Bill had its first reading in the House of Representatives on March 13th. Also discussed were Senate Bill 5522 and House Bill 1624 which would allow Secretary of State Sam Reed to develop an Internet voting program for overseas and military voters.

The evening ended up with a great panel discussion of what President Obama’s Stimulus Package means for our community.

I understand that the people in attendance asked great questions and provoked great discussion amongst themselves, panel members and speakers. Keep up the great work 36th! Your participation is greatly appreciated.

  • February 20, 2009 – 46th District

On Thursday, February 19th, staff member Michael Jerrett, attended the meeting of the 46th District Democrats. The first hour of the meeting was dedicated to a “Local Action Fair,” where Michael had the opportunity to talk with members of the 46th, including Chair, Chad Lupkes. In addition, Michael spoke with King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and had the opportunity to listen to the concerns of representatives from the Greenwood Area Involved Neighbors (GAIN), Friends of Magnuson Park, and representatives from the Moontown Foundation. The intent of this interaction is to ensure that our office and the City Council remain accessible and responsive to the needs of the 46th. I was pleased to hear the positive feedback in this regard.

Michael informed me that there were at least 75 people in attendance! I appreciate the dedication to civic activity which members of the 46th exhibit and I look forward to future interaction.

  • February 16, 2009 (African American Legislative Day)

Every February, the members of the African American community come together from across the state and converge on Olympia, our State Capitol. It is their purpose to talk with their legislators about important issues facing the African American community.

This year, the delegation focused on the following:

  • 1. Green Jobs Training
  • 2. Three-strikes Sentencing Reform
  • 3. Voting Rights Restoration
  • 4. Implementation Update
  • 5. Achievement/Opportunity Gap Bills, and
  • 6. Youth Violence

Each delegate and citizen was motivated by personal interest and commitment. They called, wrote, or met with state legislators to convey their views and information on particular issues or pieces of legislation that was of importance. This was democracy in action — dependent upon good citizens who expressed and acted on their views.

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that can.”

The African American delegation met with House Speaker Frank Chopp. They delivered a very clear message detailing the concerns of constituents. In particular, they focused on driving forward House Bills 2147 (oversight and accountability of the achievement gap in public schools), 2149 (funding for Millennium schools), 1410 (funding), as well as Senate Bill 5714 (funding for teacher certification).

  • February 12, 2009 – An Evening with the 34th District

On February 11, 2009, I had the opportunity to speak to the 34th District Democrats and it was absolutely my pleasure to be there with my colleague Councilmember Sally Clark. With nearly 100 people in attendance, this is a very active and well informed group. As usual, I am always pleased to interact with the 34th because they consistently articulate the views of working families, grassroots community activists, transportation advocates and progressive thinking. They will keep any politician honest. In the ten minutes that I was allotted, I discussed the 2009 work plan for Seattle City Light, which includes keeping low rates at City Light, my Citizen Engagement Portal Initiative and I fielded a couple of questions regarding Pend Oreille County and the effects of home solar panels on City Light’s operations. While it is always difficult to gauge the effectiveness of speaking to individuals in group settings, one of my goals was to impress upon them that my door is always open to discuss city politics. To that end, I have already spoken to members from the 34th after the meeting and again, the dialog has been great. It is clear that the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the location of the new Seattle Jail and the annexation of North Highline, are major issues where they are seeking strong and bold leadership. I have committed to providing exactly that.

  • February 10, 2009 – 37th District

On every second Monday of the month, the exciting members of the 37th District congregate at 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. to hear from speakers on a range of topics and issues important to the citizens residing in Southeast Seattle, Skyway and Renton.

Last night, my legislative assistant, Jennifer Samuels, attended February’s meeting and heard from a number of guest speakers including Ben Secord of the Tax Fairness Coalition. Ben not only addressed our region’s budget crisis, but offered short and long term solutions. Also in attendance, John Fox, Seattle Displacement Coalition and Tim Trohimovich, Futurewise, provoked a lively discussion on the pros and cons of House Bill 1490/Senate Bill 5647 (“Transit Orientated Development” Bill), which are currently being considered by our State Legislature.

Finally, video reports on the work of our state legislative representatives was presented from Senator Adam Kline, Representative Pettigrew, and Representative Tomiko-Santos, and a representative from Congressman Adam Smith’s office offered an update of some of the issues impacting that will impact our region in Washington, D.C.

The 37th represents some of the most diverse communities in this country. While about 4o people were in attendance, this district is one of the most passionate districts I have had the pleasure to represent. As I reflect on the impact this group has had on local politics, I am thankful for their support.

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