Which Seattle City Council member represents your neighborhood? That person could change if a movement to change how they're elected goes forward.
The group Seattle Districts Now has formed to promote an initiative to elect seven of the nine Seattle City Council members by district rather than citywide.
According to the group, Seattle is among the only large cities (over 500,000 population) in the nation that does not elect its city council by districts. Currently, all city council members are elected citywide.
During a news conference Thursday, the group unveiled a proposed district map (see below), created by Dr. Richard Morrill, University of Washington Professor Emeritus in geography, showing seven districts within the city of Seattle. The map follows neighborhood boundaries and is based on the 2010 Census population.
If their proposed initiative is passed, starting in 2015, voters would elect a councilmember who actually lives in and represents their district. The groups says the process will be more democratic and bring council members closer to the neighborhoods.
We need someone representing our neighborhood. Not someone who represents the whole city, said Toby Thaler with Seattle Districts Now.
Voters in the seven districts would elect representatives to a four-year term. Voters would also elect two at large councilmembers that would serve a starter term of two years. Starting in 2017, every four years, representatives elected to the at large seats would be assigned to a regular four-year term.
The group said it will need 31,000 signatures to get the 7-2 system on the ballot.
State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson and state Senators Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Maralyn Chase joined the news conference Thursday to endorse Seattle Districts Now.