Currently, all nine Council members are elected citywide, or at-large. The proposed 7-2 “mixed system” would create seven districts in Seattle, each with about 87,000 voters, and two at large, citywide representatives.
If Seattle Districts Now is able to gather the 40,000 signatures needed to qualify for a city charter amendment on the November ballot and voters approve the plan, the seven district representatives would be elected in 2015:
Two years after that, we’d elect our two at large or city-wide representatives and so it’d would go in alternating election cycles. One cycle, we’d elect our district representatives, then in the next our city-wide representatives.
It would ensure city councilmembers are closer to the people they represent and that voters better know their city councilmembers. And the seven district representatives would provide for geographic distribution of Councilmembers, while giving individual neighborhoods a distinct voice and real access on major issues, while the two at-large representatives ensure that the citywide perspective is maintained. The best of both worlds.
To start the effort and spread the word, organizers are hosting a Signature Gathering Kickoff Event:
Date: Wednesday, February 20th
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Rainier Valley Cultural Center
Address: 3515 S. Alaska Street
We reported on the Seattle Districts Now effort earlier this year:
We like it for the opportunity to take energy currently contained in informal community council and group efforts and giving it a structured shape in city policy. It’s a system that could see more individuals rise from community activist to influential Seattle politicians. Maybe. It could also be simply another way to deal the cards in the same old game.
You can learn more at seattledistrictsnow.org.