Weekly Update 12/1/19

This Week

Monday, I’ll be meeting with Bill Linscott of the Des Moines Marina Association. The Marina is near and dear to my heart and I look forward to being a strong advocate for sailors, boaters, fisher…er… people. πŸ˜€

Tuesday will be more Salmon Counting, which I’ll talk about next week because it’s one of those long-range things I hope to accomplish.

Thursday there will be a City Council Meeting @ 7pm. The big item will be a Study for a Passenger Ferry. This is a subject that has been discussed for-ehhhhhver and I hope a whole lot of you will tune in on Channel 21 or show up. http://www.desmoinesmail.com/WebPDF/Council/Packet_Archive/2019/120519.pdf As soon as the presentation is available, I’ll post it here.

Saturday I’ll be attending a training conducted by the Association of Washington Cities. Yes, you actually have to study a bit to take on the job of Council Member.

Last Week

I met with Tina Orwall on airporty stuff. She seems optimistic that we can get a first piece of legislation passed this year to help people with Port Package Problems to become eligible for repairs. Here is a follow-up letter I wrote her on strategy–a word we don’t often use around here when talking about our long-term relationship with Sea-Tac Airport. We must start thinking about a twenty five year plan for how we’re going to live together with less noise and pollution.

I also met with Mayor Matt Pina. And I gotta say, after hearing him patiently explain just a fraction of all the stuff I don’t know about I came away profoundly changed. Man, I’ve been wrong about soooo many things! All I can do now is try to learn what is really going on and work hard to help them…

Yeah… that didn’t happen. πŸ˜€

We’re gonna work together–very productively, I hope. But the main thing I came away with was that I do not misunderstand the Mayor and City Manager’s plans. And so my job is to attempt to change hearts and minds in the direction of the platform I ran on–the ideas you said you wanted me to address. We’ll agree probably 90% of the time because that’s how City stuff works. But I’m counting on them to work with me on that last 10%.

Thanksgiving Day I got accosted by about six neighbours still sore about the mailbox theft on my street. So I took some time to review the City’s Complaint Reporting. I gotta say, I commend everyone who slogs through the current system. It’s pretty rough even when I’m feeling calm. If I had just finished being robbed, I’d probably want to bash my computer trying to use this thing. I spent a lot of years doing software for customer service and my hope is to help the City improve all of this. You can’t expect residents to provide the data if the user experience is unpleasant.

Finally, I spent part of the holiday weekend on the other side of the Sound doing some fish…er… ‘waterside community research’. πŸ˜€ Here is an article from The Stranger about Bremerton and its attractions/challenges for people priced out of Seattle. I’m trying to visit electeds in cities similar to Des Moines to see how they see things. Bremerton especially interests me because they already have the Fast Ferry which will be studied at this week’s CC Meeting.

Burien v. FAA

Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled on the Burien Lawsuit with the FAA. This yet another one of those issues I have no idea how to put into twenty five words or less. OK, it involves changing one particular flight path for turbo-prop planes taking off. (See how unimportant that sounds?) So I always feel like a doofus trying to explain a movie you walked into 75 minutes late. I’ll just say for now that it goes to something I spoke at length with the Mayor about: the power of the Port and the FAA.

I used to live in Detroit. And for me, the parallels between ‘The Motor City’ and our relationship with ‘aviation’ in Seattle are striking.Β  There was a sense of omnipotence the automakers had over the entire Detroit area for many decades. The idea that everyone had no choice but to put up with the good, bad and ugly for the ‘greater good’. So certain suburbs (especially a number of waterfront communities) were simply sacrificed. Sound familiar?

What I hope to convince my peers on the Council of (and other Councils throughout the region) is that we can do a lot more to push back against the airport’s negative impacts. ItΒ is possible because the attitudes of judges and lawmakers are starting to change–even in the last five years people in power are now a lot more receptive. The Burien lawsuit is just one step forward–it may not even turn out to be a permanent step forward–but it shows me that times are changing. It shows me that we will be able to make significant progress on reducing the noise and pollution. But only if we push a lot harder while the opportunities are there. Sister cities like Burien and SeaTac have done so much more and that is completely backwards. Des Moines should be out in front on airport issues. I can’t wait to do even more once I take my seat on the Council.