In our discussion about regional transportation, and the disaggregated/dysfunctional transportation system in Puget Sound (both regional and local levels) the concept of focusing too much on one own ‘pile of money’ to solve transportation problems arose. The entire class grasped the concept and, from what I could tell, agreed that making decisions about broad, complex, interconnected problems that are part of a larger system made sense if decision makers were free from silo type constraints.
With that thought in mind, I’d like to introduce the fact that City of Seattle voters will face a choice this November about whether or not to change the manner in which City Councilmembers are elected from all at-large to districting. Seattle Districts Now has proposed a City Charter Amendment which would change Seattle from a nine member at large City Council to a mixed system with seven Councilmembers elected from geographic district and two at large members elected city wide.
The argument put forth by proponents of the legislation is that districted elections, ‘ensure City Councilmembers are closer to the people they represent and that voters better know their city council members.’
I would contend that this is not the case and that Seattle is, in fact, such a small metropolitan municipality that further disaggregation of any of our decision making bodies is a bad, bad idea. Our problems are complex and, in the same manner that complex transportation solutions can not be solved by keeping within ones own little sandbox, so is the the case with city issues. It would be a terrible tragedy to the constituents of this city if we were to disaggregate the City Council. I believe the result could lead to apathy, lack of accountability, and a general more isolated council. Every resident of the city will be better served by having every Councilmember accountable to all residents, rather than just a fraction.