In Search of the Audience
by Kirby LindsayThe October meeting of the Fremont Neighborhood Council (FNC) began more slowly than usual. With President Norma Jones out of town, Board Member Erik Pihl facilitated the meeting – and delayed the start until a quorum (six) of board members gathered.
With their quorum, the meeting began with announcements that included a report, from Board Member Toby Thaler, that the City Council recently authorized Seattle Parks & Recreation to purchase the property west of Ernst Park (on 35th Street next to the Fremont Branch of Seattle Public Library) for expansion. The Board considered whether a public meeting needed to be held on the acquisition. General opinion held that no meeting would be necessary now, but one would need to be called if the property is purchased, to gather public input on how the park would be designed and used.
Next, the group chose Saturday, November 13th, from 9a – Noon as the date of the next street clean-up of Fremont Avenue, and surrounding areas. All willing volunteers can meet in front of The Powerhouse (3940 Fremont Avenue North) where some tools and bags will be available. Please come help!
Strong concerns were voiced throughout the meeting about the pending vote by the City Council on the Seattle City budget. “Lots of programs are on the chopping block,” Thaler said, but of specific concern was the potential closure of the Neighborhood Service Center, and loss of Lake Union District coordinator Tim Durkan. Thaler referred to Durkan’s role in Fremont as one of “invaluable assistance.”
An analysis has circulated that studies the direct services proposed for cuts, like the Service Center, and thick layer of mid-management that remains untouched. Thaler remarked on the redundancy that exists among City departments, even as they consider removing vital resources.
Rather than send a FNC letter, the Board urged that individual members write personal requests to the City Council. They also urged everyone available to attend the Lake Union District Council meeting scheduled for November 1st as a show of support for Durkan, and his role in the neighborhood.
New Business Of FNC?
Throughout the meeting, a few comments were made about the lack of impact the FNC has had recently in efforts to influence city government. An admittedly radical suggestion came up that the FNC hire a lobbyist, perhaps part-time, to work Downtown voicing the organization’s concerns.
Another discussion, about the power of endorsing political candidates and causes, tied into this. Such endorsements, it was suggested, could make the FNC more politically relevant. Matt Gasparich offered to research what positions have been taken by other neighborhood councils regarding such endorsements.
As to hiring a lobbyist, past president Dic Selin described the FNC as “a reactive group,” that responds when residents present issues. He recommended that clear goals and objectives need to be adopted before the FNC consider sending anyone out to speak on their behalf. Several board members agreed, and Pihl recommended time be set aside in January to identify goals and objectives for the coming year.
Pihl also talked about identifying the audience of the FNC, and what they want. Thaler pointed out, “we need more organizational strength.” According to Thaler, Fremont is “one of the smallest neighborhoods population-wise,” but meeting attendance still needs to increase.
If you want to be part of the FNC audience, or simply find out more about them, consider attending the next meeting. Meetings take place on the fourth Monday of each month – the next will be November 22nd - at 7p at History House (790 N 34th.)
- FNC Highlight Reel: Special Speaker & Annual Election
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 7, 2010
- Parks Add To Fremont’s Wealth of Resources
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 16, 2007 in the North Seattle Herald-Outlook
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.