Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on March 23, 2013

Electing Seattle Council Members by District


Seattle has for several generations elected their council members citywide.  But Seattle remains one of the three cities with a population over 500,000 that does not elect the council by districts.  A Seattle council member represents over 620,000 people as many as the governor of Vermont.  In recent elections, the cost of running has exceeded $250,000.  And in the last decade, outside of scandal, only one incumbent council member has been defeated. 

Many people feel it is time for a change, and the proposal to amend the City Charter to create 7 districts and 2 at-large seats is being put forth.  If the campaign can gather enough signatures, the proposal will appear on the November 2013 ballot. 

The discussion will cover why district elections are good for democracy, for better access to your elected representatives, and how politics in Seattle will be transformed.


Guest Speakers:  

Cleve Stockmeyer
(Advocating for district-specific candidates)

Cleve Stockmeyer lives in the Green Lake neighborhood, and is an attorney active in civil rights and personal injury cases.  He formerly worked for Justice Phil Talmadge on the State Supreme Court and then was a law partner with Justice Talmadge.  Cleve is proud to note that he has helped win and lose elections citywide and in districts inside Seattle since moving here in 1991.  These include a state representative run in 1994 in the 36th district, and two monorail board elections.  He wrote a Seattle Districts Initiative in 1999 providing for nine districts and none at large, and he has worked on dozens of elections and campaigns for local and statewide races.  He has also been a precinct committee officer and has served on the boards of the 36th and 46th District Democrats as well as Transportation Choices Coalition, King County Conservation Voters and Feet First. 


Steve Zemke
(Defending our current system, i.e., all at-large candidates)

Steve Zemke was formerly the Chair of the King County Democrats. He is active in the ongoing effort to protect Seattle's urban forest and its trees as Chair of Save the Trees - Seattle. He worked with Councilmember Nick Licata to help create the Urban Forest Commission and fought to successfully reduce by over 50% the number of trees proposed to be removed at Ingraham High School.



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Bill Bradburd for hosting Speaker: Cleve Stockmeyer

Speaker: Steve Zemke




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