Do you want to hear what Washington Republicans think about president-elect Trump? Spoiler alert: They don’t all agree with each other. We highly recommend plugging in your headphones to listen to this 24-minute KUOW interview with four Washington Republicans on what convinced them to support or not support Trump. Know how we keep talking about the importance of listening to the other side, whatever your politics? Here’s one chance to do that.
While other big cities have grown more racially diverse, Seattle has stayed the same: Seattle is ranked among the 10 least diverse major cities in the U.S., reports Gene Balk of The Seattle Times. This isn’t terribly shocking given that the city is the fifth whitest among major cities in America, but it is surprising when you consider that today, for the first time, there are more people of color than non-Hispanic whites in Bellevue. One reason? Housing costs. (Yeah, yeah, we know we’ve said that before). Higher prices are pushing lower-income families – many of whom are people of color – to South King County, Gene explains.
But it’s important to remember that Seattle is a city of neighborhoods – so check out the map that Gene put together showing how the racial diversity of your neighborhood may have changed since 2010.
The city’s got a new plan to get Seattleites involved in its decision-making: It used to be that when the city wanted to work with neighborhoods, it worked with the City Neighborhood Council, a group of elected members who represented the interests and ideas of Seattle’s 13 neighborhood districts. Now the mayor and the City Council have cut ties with that group and laid out a new way to hear from residents: A Community Involvement Commission that will be appointed by the mayor and the City Council sometime in early 2017.
Why replace one group with another? The mayor cited city data that showed the groups in the City Neighborhood Council were dominated by middle-aged white homeowners who don’t represent the racial or socioeconomic diversity of the city, writes Heidi Groover of The Stranger. The goal with the new Community Involvement Commission is to “hear from different and diverse groups in addition to the people who have led district councils for years,” writes Dan Beekman of The Seattle Times.
But some people, like Jim Diers, the first director of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, have been very critical of a change they see as taking too much of a top-down approach to bringing city government and its neighborhoods together. And others, like Yusuf Abdi – who Dan quotes in his story – think the mayor and City Council only want to hear from people who will agree with them.
Whatever your opinion, it’s a new approach to community organizing in Seattle and we’ll be watching what happens.