Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tom Rasmussen fears Seattle is too selfish to have city council members elected by districts

This, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with the current thinking of the Seattle City Council voted into office in at-large races.

They assume that ordinary citizens are incapable of caring about other citizens of Seattle if they do not happen to live in their district, and would only elect people that were equally narrow minded.
THAT is just one reason to break up the at-large groupthink going on downtown, at the Seattle City Council.

The charter amendment also could attract more community activists who are well-known in their district or some current state legislators who might want a larger salary without the long commute to Olympia, said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, one of three current City Council members to be the sole occupant of one of the new council districts.

But Rasmussen, a West Seattle resident, also sees drawbacks. He said the change puts the burden on council members to deliver for their own district rather than prioritizing projects and initiatives based on their importance citywide, such as mass transit and environmental sustainability.

"There may be very compelling needs throughout the city, but if those folks don't vote for you, you're not going to spend time on those issues," he said.

Rasmussen speculated that every district council member would want an accounting from each city department of how many resources are going to their district, from human services to parks to transportation to police. And he questioned whether there would be any incentive for other council members to support a West Seattle project, such as a new senior center.

"Why would the eight others care?" he asked.

Tom, I don't know about you, but I do care about the entire city. I manage to do so even though I am a lowly citizen.

Read the Seattle Times story here: