My City Council MVP, MIP, LVP | Chuck Parrish
By CHUCK PARRISH
Tukwila Reporter Columnist
January 25, 2013 · Updated 10:57 AM
Guess what? There’s another election in November! OK, you can stop cheering now. In November, we will vote for City Council positions currently served by Councilmembers Verna Seal, Allan Ekberg, De Sean Quinn and Joe Duffie. Our City Council functions reasonably well; there are no chairs thrown and police do not have to be called in. Pretty low bar, right?
Here’s the problem. In a community of 19,000, including children, we have few serious candidates for office and a voting populace that does not pay much attention. It appears that if a council member never showed up, he or she could still be re-elected if popular. Small-town politics.
We elect and pay council members $12,000 to $13,000 to create good public policy. Good policy making requires time consuming study of staff reports, reflection on the issues and preparation to discuss matters in detail. A good policy maker will ask questions, offer insights and suggestions and, most importantly, make motions to be voted on. Without motions, nothing happens.
My MVP (most valuable player) on this council is Councilmember Dennis Robertson. While sometimes controversial, Robertson is always prepared to discuss matters in depth. His contributions are consistent and thought provoking. His proposals and motions almost always reflect a good grasp of the issues and how they relate to each other. While not always right (who is?), he is prolific. Robertson doesn’t show up to a lot of community events. That is OK. Policy making is his job. He is a work horse, not a show horse.
My MIP (most improved player) is Councilmember Kathy Hougardy. Not knowing all that much about city government when she started, she has studied, taken lots of notes and asked lots of questions. Along with a great sense of humor, she has demonstrated a greatly improved understanding of how the city works, what is important and what is not and a willingness to change her mind if someone has a better idea or the facts as previously understood change.
My LVP (least valuable player) is Councilmember Duffie. After some 30 years on the council, perhaps motivation changes. Making only the most general observations about policy issues and serving the citizens, he seems to rely on the efforts of other council members to come to an understanding of the issues. Councilmember Duffie is popular and shows up for many events.
Audio recordings of all council and planning commission meetings are available online. Video recordings of council meetings are anticipated to be available in the next couple of months.
Tukwila Reporter columnist Chuck Parrish can be reached at email@example.com.Contact Tukwila Reporter Columnist Chuck Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.