Weekly Update: 06/21/2020

Just a quick note: Yes, this site is going through some (cough) ‘changes’ now. A few things will probably look goofy for a couple of days.

This Week

Tuesday: Association of Washington Cities (AWC) ‘virtual’ annual conference.

Tuesday: Another one of those darned Port Of Seattle meetings. Not on the agenda, but there should be some good news for Port Package updates.

Wednesday:An AWC training class. Plus one on one meetings with members of the Puget Sound Clean Air Advisory Committee.

Wednesday: come have lunch with me at the Senior Center. Get an EATS voucher!

Wednesday: Sea-Tac Airport Advisory Roundtable (StART) Meeting. It’s less of a roundtable nowadays–more like a semi-circle, since Des Moines, Burien and Federal Way left. But it still matters.

Thursday: Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) General Assembly. Wanna demand a second airport? Beg for a fast ferry? Complain about housing sprawl? Traffic a mess? This is the place! 😀

Thursday is the first Committee meetings of the year. Woo Hoo! Municipal Facilities, Economic Development. Haven’t received the Zoom links yet, so go to the City web site or mail City Clerk Bonnie Wilkins for an invite.

And a City Council Meeting to boot! (Agenda and directions on public comment)  Public Hearing on Transportation Plan (2021-2040)

IMPORTANT: To participate in the Public Hearing for the Transportation Improvement Plan or the Flood Hazard Areas Code Update, First Reading: sign up for public comment here!

Last Week

Monday: Sound Cities Association meeting on helping businesses to re-open.

Tuesday: SCATbd Meeting. This is the regional transporation board for South King County. The message: cuts to King County Metro are looking to be pretty massive in the next two years.

Tuesday: Burien Airport Committee Meeting (BAC). If you’re concerned about the noise and pollution, I urge you to attend these meetings. The problem we always have in managing Sea-Tac Airport is reactivity historically we only respond to their growth. The BAC is one of the only places where there is ongoing work to change that. And now it’s getting to a critical point in deciding how to try to stop the expansion. More soon.

Wednesday: Lunch at the Senior Center. The apple pie was particularly good. 🙂

Wednesday: Reach Out Des Moines. Over the past several years the group has made major improvements in attendance at our schools as well as juvenile crime reduction. I was introduced to their IT chief about improving Internet access for all students. As reported in the Waterland Blog, there may be a bond initiative to fund that. I want to get as many details as possible.

Happy Fathers Day

Well, it’s Fathers Day. Almost the end of June. Which means that I’ve been doing this gig now for, what… FIVE YEARS? Because that’s what 2020 feels like, right? Can we just take two 2019s and skip ahead to 2021?

I think now is a good time to respond to a few letters I’ve received which have opened with similar themes. “Look, JC, I know you’re interested in all that ‘long term jazz’, but what about my…” 😀 So I figure it worth mentioning that I also spend a lot of time on day-to-day stuff. For example, this week I talked to residents about

Two people with different fence issues, a sewer system, mailbox theft (always near the top of the charts), what it takes to get a speed bump, what it takes to get a speed bump (a lot of people want traffic calming). I also hooked up two small businesses with some coaching. I am always available if you want to talk about local issues–especially your street and your home.

Just Like Dear Old Dad

What I’m taking a long time to get to is this: In the true spirit of Fathers Day I’m going to lecture you what you need to do with your life. 😀

We’ve seen a steady drop in community involvement in our City for decades now. I don’t just mean City Council. I also mean the Citizen Advisory Committees that advocate for residents. And also all the public/private partnerships that do most of the heavy lifting on human services and events in this town. (Without groups like Destination Des Moines, Legacy Foundation, Farmers Market, Rotary, Food Bank, etc. we’d have no parades, no Waterland almost no public art, no support for people with food insecurity and very few programs for Seniors and Kids.) Think about that for a minute. Most people think ‘the City’ does all that stuff. Nope. It’s mostly volunteers. And it should be you.

Because, let’s be frank: you tend to see so many of the same people in these various groups and committees for so many years that it’s easy to think that they are the group. And that’s a two-edged sword. the City owes every long time volunteer all a real debt. But our city’s demographics have changed dramatically in the past decade. We are now a much younger city with lots of new families and it’s past time for a new generation to start taking over.

I’m sorry, sir. Your tuition does not cover that…

If your child goes to Catholic School (or any school these days, really) you know that ‘tuition’ or ‘property tax’ doesn’t begin to cover it. You also need to put in all those volunteer hours. And you need to buy Scrip. And fund the various activities. It never ends, right? You can’t storm into the Principal’s Office and say, “I pay good money to fund this place, why should I have to also do all that other crap!” She’d just smile politely. That’s just not how it works, sir.

But that is exactly how many residents feel about their City. During my last campaign I heard the phrase “I pay taxes! I deserve….” about a billion times. And I learned how to smile politely. A lot. For some reason, we’ve collectively decided that it’s totally fine to ask you to put in hours and hours for school or church, but zero at all for your city. It’s ridiculous. I’m sorry. That’s just not how it works, sir.

Don’t like how something is going in Des Moines? On your street? (I guarantee that you have at least two gripes) There is a group, either with the City or private organization, that you can join and make a real difference on your issue. Just between you and me and the wall, if it looks like some of these groups don’t do much right now, it’s only because so many are starved for members like you.

I mean, check out the average City Council member or candidate. Do we look like you?  Most of us are ancient (OK, I feel ancient). Most of us are clustered in just a few neighborhoods. That’s also how most of the other groups and committees are. If you join a group or committee, you’re adding your neighborhood and your point of view to the mix and that matters.

Also, by being part of one of these groups, you can immediately have a much greater influence on your issue(s) than just one resident complaining. And if you’re one of the only people in the group? Even better! I’ve literally gotten legislation passed because I was the only guy in the room at the time to propose the idea.

This is what Dads do

So it’s time for you to step up. Start going to a group or committee meeting on an issue you care about.  Don’t know which group or committee to join or how to get started? That is definitely something I can help with.  Like I said, if you have an issue you’re passionate about, I can point you in the right direction.

Look, this is what Dad’s do, right? They join a Citizens Advisory Committee; a Foundation. All that civic-minded jazz that seemed so squaresville back when you were a teenager doesn’t seem so square now, does it? You have kids and you want them to grow up in the best possible Des Moines. And guess what? That is how it works, sir.

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