Special Speaker & Annual Election
by Kirby Lindsay
On April 26th, the Fremont Neighborhood Council (FNC) held its annual meeting. The FNC represents residential interests in Fremont, and this meeting featured the election of volunteers who advocate and act all year ‘round on behalf of Fremont residents. For this reason, a larger attendance might have been expected – not to mention the opportunity to hear and question another Fremont resident in attendance, Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien.
Special Guest Speaker
O’Brien admitted he is new to his role as a City Councilperson, having served, he said, “just shy of four months now.” In opening remarks, he mentioned Seattle has “a City Council and a Mayor that are aligned on 96%” of issues but still manage to find matters on which they cannot agree. He asked for help to find ways past those disputes. “I hope people in Seattle continue to speak up,” he said, “and embarrass people like me when we need it.”
He spoke enthusiastically about the P-Patch program and the Neighborhood Matching Fund – and the relatively low cost of such programs that benefit large communities of people. He spoke with excitement for the carbon neutrality program, and the effort to define what a carbon neutral city will look like. He’d like to see if we can make a society that uses little carbon, yet maintains community standards; one that can set a model for others to follow.
When time came for questions, one issue came up twice – crime. The second time O’Brien admitted, “safety is not really an issue I’ve ever dealt with,” but acknowledged that he now must, as an elected official. He spoke of long-term investments to guide future generations to better choices. “We have more resources in this country than anywhere,” he admitted of statistics he has seen, “but we have more criminals than anywhere.”
When asked about the Neighborhood Plans, he observed, “the people involved in the plans are a homogenous group.” City employees have reached out and contacted immigrant, elderly and young citizens, one-on-one, but he’d like to see people of diversity come together to the table.
The subject of transit, and the need to expand our system, drew attention from much of the audience. O’Brien observed that transit in Seattle is largely provided through King County, as Metro, and he does not advocate the City breakaway from Metro. He did mention investigations into potentially purchasing additional service from the County, and with funding through a licensing fee.
Finally, he admitted he had not, as yet, joined the FNC. When Board President Norma Jones speedily handed him a form, he filled it out on the spot.
Annual Business & Elections
From there the FNC annual election took place. After offering gratitude to Sheridan Hammond, who decided not to return to the board this year, President Jones introduced the candidates - Julia DeBroux, Matt Gasparich, George Heideman, Elfriede Noble, Erik Pihl, and Toby Thaler. Dic Selin and Kathleen Crosser were also identified as candidates, although they could not attend. Verbal, unanimous agreement elected the slate as presented.
The slate of officers listed Norma Jones for President, Stephanie Pure for Vice-President, Shawn Mulanix for Treasurer and Alex Berezhnoy for Secretary. They also received unanimous, verbal approval.
After committee chairs re-capped business they performed on behalf of the FNC over the past year, Jones mentioned two upcoming FNC monthly meetings. In addition to general business, the meeting May 24th will feature a presentation on the safety barrier construction for the Aurora Bridge. On June 28, City Attorney Pete Holmes has agreed to attend. Residents are welcome to attend any meeting of the FNC, held on the fourth Monday of each month (except December) at 7p.m. at History House (790 N. 34th).
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.