Group says council districts would better represent Everett

EVERETT — A campaign has been launched to put an initiative on the November ballot that, if passed, would divide the city of Everett into districts for City Council elections.

Megan Dunn, an advocate for the districts and chairwoman of the Everett Districts Now campaign, said they’d need about 8,000 signatures to qualify.

“We would not have to do this, we would not have to gather 8,000 signatures, we would not have to raise $70,000, if the City Council had put this on the ballot and let the voters decide,” Dunn said.

“It’s very clear that the residents of Everett want to see this happen so we’re moving forward,” she said.

Dunn, who lives in the Lowell neighborhood, has advocated a districting plan since 2015 as a way of increasing representation from the southern parts of the city, which have more racially and economically diverse populations. Right now, only one city councilman, Jeff Moore, lives in south Everett, and four of them plus Mayor Ray Stephanson live north of downtown.

It would also help combat a perception that north Everett neighborhoods receive a disproportionate amount of resources, including public safety and sewer improvements, she said.

The proposed ballot initiative would have five of the seven council seats elected from five geographical districts of approximately 20,000 residents each. The other two council seats would remain at-large positions.

The campaign hired Richard Morrill to draw up the proposed district maps. Morrill also drew up the city of Seattle’s district maps, and is a retired University of Washington professor of geography.

That was similar to a proposal brought before the city’s Charter Review Commission in 2016. The commission ultimately voted not to include it on the general election ballot that year.

In February, the City Council’s General Government Subcommittee decided not to push for a districting plan, opting instead for a number of other outreach initiatives designed to bolster voter participation citywide.

The proposed ballot language includes provisions for redistricting every 10 years if new Census data causes shifts in population density in the neighborhoods.

Snohomish County Councilman Brian Sullivan, who is running for mayor, is an early endorser of the measure.

Despite the City Council’s good intentions, it’s not representative of a rapidly diversifying population, he said.

“You want people on the City Council saying, ‘Hey, I’m from this neighborhood and I’m fighting for this neighborhood,’ ” he said. Sullivan lives in the Port Gardner neighborhood.

Other local backers of the campaign include the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, the Snohomish County Chapter of the NAACP, Everett Firefighters Local 46 and City Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher.

A kickoff event for the campaign is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Snohomish County Public Utility District building, 2320 California St.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

King County map logo
Tribal members dance to start an assemble on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day Friday evening at Tulalip Gathering Hall in Tulalip, Washington on September 30, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Still here’: Tulalip boarding school descendants celebrate resilience

On Orange Shirt Day, a national day of remembrance, the Tulalip Tribes honored those who suffered due to violent cultural suppression.

Councilmember Megan Dunn, left, stands next to County Executive Dave Somers as he presents his 2023 budget proposal to her, Councilmember Nate Nehring and Councilmember Sam Low. (Snohomish County)
As County Council begins budget talks, here’s how you can weigh in.

Department heads will make their pitches in the next few days. Residents will get a say at a forum and two hearings this month

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen to hold community meeting in Everett on Monday

The veteran Democratic lawmaker will address recent legislation passed by Congress and other topics.

Everett
Everett gets state Auditor’s Office stewardship award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy presented the award during the most recent Everett City Council meeting.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Monroe in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
FBI: Monroe man trafficked, abused Mexican woman through marriage ruse

Rangel Ramirez-Manzano was charged with paying for a woman to be smuggled across the border, then essentially holding her hostage.

Toggle’s Bottle Shop is closed permanently on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Citing landlord dispute, Toggle’s closes in downtown Everett

The popular taproom shuttered Sunday. “Everett needs a cooperative landlord-tenant relationship in the commercial district,” a co-owner said.

Community Transit chief financial officer Eunjoo Greenhouse
Community Transit hires King County staffer as CFO

Eunjoo Greenhouse is set to join the agency Oct. 24 after years in King County government.

(Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - US Forest Service)
U.S. 2 reopens east of Index as Bolt Creek wildfire moves north

The highway was blocked off earlier this week as the fire spread.

Most Read