“The Department of Neighborhoods, the city office chiefly responsible for gathering community input, will have shed nearly all of its direct accountability to the communities it serves, except for a single, advisory only, commission. Plus, the Department gets to appoint nearly half that commission’s members. And it will have done so through a process that repeatedly failed to seek community input on proposed changes before announcing them… The city department that is supposed to be the expert on community outreach is spectacularly failing at that very task.”
The slippery dishonesty of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is finally coming to the attention of people beyond the “older, white, homeowners” who agitate in the neighborhoods. Kevin Schofield at Seattle City Council Insight has done a close reading of the Department’s recent utterances, and he finds them incoherent on their face:
The Department of Neighborhoods seems determined to leave everyone guessing as to what kind of support it will provide to District Councils moving forward. And in the meantime, it’s moving to insulate itself further from accountability to the communities it serves. Its communications regarding support for District Councils get more confusing with every passing day.
Schofield parses the language of the new resolution and ordinance that DON delivered (without public announcement) to the City Council on Sep. 26, and finds them “unclear” and “intentionally vague.” He notices that there is no provision for public input into allocation of the Neighborhood Matching Fund. He criticizes the Mayor’s plan for a new Citizen Involvement Commission to replace the District Councils: “Being able to pick your own outside advisors is a nice way to build the appearance of broad support for your agenda, but it decreases the likelihood you’ll get exposed to new viewpoints.”