The initial email was sent out in June. It was the day after the deadline for candidates to declare they were running for office. Knowing the city council would have at least one new face, due to council member Peter Steinbrueck choosing not to run for reelection, I knew there would be some interest in the races. That's why I extended invitations to the candidates months ago, knowing it was better to be early than not in the mix.
The invite? For a candidates' forum in Georgetown.
With the variety of issues that has faced the South End over the last few years, we have been reminded about the importance of the city council. We have seen how these nine elected officials truly have a say in what happens in our neighborhoods, what happens to our neighborhoods.
They, after all, are the ones that vote for legislation: legislation that could have created a designated zone for cabaret clubs or legislation that would have condemned property to make way for a new intermodal facility (a.k.a. dump) or legislation that would require nightclubs and restaurants to obtain one more license.
After spending more hours than I care to count before the city council, I realized it would behoove us to start a relationship with these folks before they got into office. It was that epiphany, or "duh" moment, that prompted me to organize this forum for our neighborhoods.
Feeling as though I was making it up as I went along, I sent an email to each campaign manager, simply inviting said candidate to Georgetown for this event. Responses came back almost immediately. I opened the first reply tentatively, half expecting a, "No thank you". Fortunately, that didn't happen.
Within a week or so, each candidate, who made it past the primary, had confirmed his or her participation. The forum was on, and I was now past the point of making it up.
I had secured a date , Oct. 2, and a location, the fabulous Georgetown Ballroom. And because of the wealth of amazing people in the neighborhood, I was able to secure a facilitator as well. We were set.
The next step was drafting questions that were specific for the South End and that appropriately captured some of our concerns. With so many issues, this was not a difficult task to do.
We have questions about industrial zoning to environmental needs and superfund sites. We'll be asking about transportation - how we can make room for cars, freight and bicyclists for example. We'll talk parks to parked trucks and everything in between. We just need attendees. Let's show that the South End is indeed a force to be reckoned with.
We have four incumbents hoping to be reelected, with opponents hoping to overtake them. This will be an opportunity to hear who deserves our vote. We have one race with two newcomers. This will be a great chance to see who is qualified and how they differ. Though this forum is taking place in Georgetown, everyone is welcome to attend.
The city council has quite a say about what happens to our neighborhoods. Let's have say about who sits on the council.
The Georgetown Seattle City Council candidates forum will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Georgetown Ballroom located at 5623 Airport Way S.