The League of Women Voters of Snohomish County has taken a position in favor of a district or combination district/at-large method for the election of Everett’s City Council members.
Demographers currently predict Everett to grow by 60,000 people by 2030. The pressure of those arrivals is being felt even now in neighborhood traffic, rising house prices and rent increases. Are the voices of Silver Lake, Lake Stickney, Holly Road, Casino Road, Mariner, View Ridge, Lowell, Riverview, Bayside, Port Gardner, Forest Park, Seaview neighborhoods all reflected in the current At Large makeup of the Everett City Council? Not under the present structure. As the population grows, the requirements of the city’s changing citizenry and varied commercial entities need to be heard within the discussions of the city council.
The small town “at large” approach to governing that provided Everett with its historically strong base of caring, committed officials now requires a modernized design that restores civic engagement with representation that is once again locally based. One opportunity for that would be to create districts. In spite of the vote taken recently by the Charter Committee on a districting proposal, this council should continue to stay open to ideas that would extend greater inclusion and examine closely the prospect of creating voting districts within the geographic boundaries of the city. To begin now with efforts to generate boundaries for such voting districts would allow for adequate weigh-in by all stakeholders and put in place the steps to carry Everett smoothly into its urbanizing future.
The League of Women Voters has long held a position on fair and equal representation that allows the strongest input for citizens and the greatest degree of communication between office holders and constituents. It stands ready to support the council in educating the public on this matter while encouraging participation by widening voter registration efforts. We urge the mayor and council to move the city toward districting or a combination of districting and at-large voting!
Joan Smith, President, LWV/SC
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