6:41 I’m in a mostly empty auditorium as people filter into McGinn’s last (?) town hall of the transition. There are a few kids hula hooping on stage, and people gossiping a 5 rows in front of me. I guess the event starts in 20 minutes or so, and I’ll update with interesting questions and answers as they happen.
6:53 Still waiting for any action, and I want to discuss McGinn staying in the community since his election. There is a lot about the transition that has been a bit off kilter, but by far and away McGinn still doing townhalls, still soliciting questions from the community, still being involved is marvelous, and I hope he keeps doing these sort of things as mayor.
Also, I should note fairly early on if other events are any indication, my notes are going to be incomplete because I don’t type as fast as people talk, and inaccurate because I’m sure I’ll miss things. I apologize in advance.
7:00 We’re about a quarter full now, and no sign of starting. But I’d like to give kudos to the event organizers for finding a place where my ClearWire works. Much better than on that score than Hillary or Governor Gergoire’s campaigns.
7:09 The Mayor Elect is wearing a tie (as am I, I’m coming from work). The last time I saw him at an event he had an open collar. And at least at this event, no obvious bike hair, or at least not obvious from the second to last row. Any way, it should start soon, and then less goofball nonsense from me, and more substance.
7:14 Same kids hula hooping, they’re doing a great job rallying the crowd. By being adorable. Seriously, we’re totally starting soon, I think. And I can’t believe I forgot my camera again.
7:28 McGinn is opening the meeting: Where we are and our objectives. Election’s over, and on January 1st he officially becomes mayor (applause) so now we’re in transition where we get from the heat and action of the campaign so we have to build a good team and chose priorities and get off on the right foot to accomplish change.
The goal is to hear from everybody not just the team. So doing community outreach: inviting people, and collecting information from activists. Put up a website, and put on town halls. We invite you to invite other people to submit information to see what that tells us to do next.
What do we do first: We want to hear ideas, and we want to know where to start because it’s important to do the right things first. We want to know what’s important and what to work on. We’ve appointed transition facilitators, 2 deputy mayors and a chief of staff. Those are the top layer of leadership, feel free to communicate with us during the transition. That’s the big picture, I’ve probably spoken too long, tonight I want to hear people’s views, and I’ll probably say a few things during the meeting, but tonight is for us to listen to you.
7:31 Darryl Smith is saying you can go to: ideasforseattle.org and new.seattle.gov for ideas, if you’re interested in feedback.
7:37 First Question: I see the differences between schools in the North End and the South End I’m concerned about jobs. There aren’t employment opportunity in Southeast Seattle I want a community college in Southeast Seattle to have educational values and have jobs in the community.
These are more listening, so I may not post every question/comment. [updating later to note that these are questions, and I love most of them, some live from the audience some on cards]
7:48 Building team I hear a lot about racial equity and economic opportunity. I don’t see that explicitly said. So here’s my question: Children and families are struggling. Low income children and family. What can we do and what is the obligation of the city?
7:50 One of the most pressing issues in the city is gentrification, specifically the displacement in the city. The other question is Seattle has the most well educated baristas in the United States. We’ve got low paying jobs, and what can be done to create jobs?
7:53 Will it be possible to have more public housing? People can’t afford a mortgage in the immigrant and refugee community.
7:58 I work at a homeless shelter downtown for single women, and I have to turn away single women. All the emergency family centers are full, we need to have more shelters because we’re turning too many people away.
8:00 I am very concerned about and would like to recommend a department that deals with civil rights and social issues. I think it would be a department that would expedite information to you, and one that would be beneficial to you and to various communities that comprise the city.
8:05 Youth violence: We see a lot of money being spent in the name of the youth, but not a lot of people are seeing the benefits. In a tight budget situation, we need to support grassroots organizations directions like the Rainier Beach Youth Initiative and youth sports, and Seattle vocational initiative. We need transitional housing for youth. Mother’s Reach Outreach, Black on Black Crime Coalition are getting the short end of the stick when the budget is getting cut.
8:06 How do you build a better relation between SPD and the community?
8:12 Transportation is important to me. The one thing I want to do is walk my children to school on sidewalks. 2 out of 3 most direct routes in the school are scary. Sometimes these things seem like small things, but it’s really big for children and all aspects of our population.
8:23 McGinn: If I jumped up to respond to every comment, we wouldn’t have heard as much.
It’s valuable to hear from people directly. Sidewalks are important to me. Knowing your children can be safe outside is a big thing.
This is the first time I’ve ever been a candidate. I learned about being a candidate. When you go in public, and people hear about what they care about, something happens. We’ll do our best to keep this open.
What we’re trying to do right now is see what the priorities are. Issues of inequity. We see statistics around employment, arrest rates and housing are shocking, we must improve on the work in the prior administration.
The economy means that we’re getting less money in the door and we have more needs. Transit and safe neighborhood for everyone are critical.
We’re going to have to ask the community to do more. But the community wants to do more. Around youth. Around facilities. Education, sports, arts etc. We have to partner with the community better than we have in the past. I’m going to ask you to hold us accountable.
Issues around transportation will remain large. Job creation generally and youth jobs are the types of initiatives we’ll come up with. That’s about where we are right now. We know we’re up to the challenges we face. They’re difficult but people show up and we’re going to work with you.