Letter: Housing controversy points to need for council districts

Regarding Oden Olson’s recent letter regarding low-barrier housing coming to his neighborhood without the city seeking any input from the people living in Pinehurst Beverly Park: It doesn’t sound like the way any of us living in Everett want to be treated. If even one city council member lived in the affected area, that person would have stepped forward to say, “Wait a minute. We need to talk to people in Pinehurst Beverly Park and tell them what this proposal is all about and listen to their concerns.” When serious city problems demand solutions, our elected city officials have an obligation to remember they were elected to serve everyone living in Everett, even though such consideration may slow down the decision-making process. It’s the way democratic government is supposed to work.

There is a remedy to avoiding, or at least lessening, the impact of unpopular decision making. That remedy is to change the way that the city council is selected from all seven members elected at large to election by district or some combination of election by district and at large. (Mixed method.) That way every person living within the city limits would have at least one council member looking out for their interests. Currently, the power is skewed in favor of people living in the northern part of the city.

Our state legislators; Mike Sells and June Robinson, and our state senator, John McCoy, have publicly spoken in favor of districting as a way to improve representation in Everett’s City Council. Snohomish County Councilman Brian Sullivan has done the same. The Daily Herald’s Editorial Board has spoken in favor of districting. It is now time for the Everett City Council to recognize that to be a truly representative body. it must change the way the council is chosen so that it represents all of us living in the city. Mr. Olson and his neighbors in Pinehurst Beverly Park should never be blindsided again.

Lois Wentink


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