2018 - Winter

Collateral materials from Winter 2018 Community Meeting

Councilmember Kshama Sawant will be Here!

Make this your conversation with Councilmember Sawant about city government, our vision and her vision. If there are specific issues that you would like addressed, she asks that you submit them in advance in order to use her time with us as efficiently as possible(Send to board@squireparkcc.orgor jfoxcullen@gmail.com).  She has been chair of Energy and Environment Committee and will chair the new Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee. Councilmember Sawant will oversee Council’s work on issues relating to services provided by the Human Services Department, includingprograms that meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our community. The committee will also consider matters involving public health and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD), which allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services. The committee will also focus on renter rights, including but not limited to legislation intended to protect renters facing gentrification, economic evictions, excessive background checks, and unaffordable rent. 

Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) is also on the agenda.  There will be time for community conversations and connections as we elect new board members. With a new mayor and city council there is opportunity to bring agenda items forward now. 

Please let us know any other items that you might want to have some time to address.  Neighborhood connections are the most important to the relevancy to a community council. 

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WHAT IS THE SQUIRE PARK COMMUNITY COUNCIL?

and why you should come to a meeting

SPCC, the community council for your neighborhood, has been around for decades.  But, like most Seattle neighborhoods, the Central Area has been changing rapidly.  Hundreds of households receiving this newsletter are new to the neighborhood.  So, even though SPCC has been around for a long time, an introduction is never a bad thing.

SPCC is the community council for the part of the Central Area bounded by 12th on the west, 23rdon the east, Union on the north, and Jackson on the south.  A major work of SPCC is to publish this newsletter each quarter.  Four times a year a dozen or more neighbors bring the newsletter to around 3,000 Central Area doorsteps. 

A most important goal of the newsletter is to publicize and invite neighbors to the neighborhood meeting.  A recent study cited by the “Atlantic” magazinefound that a third of the people in American communities say they have never once interacted with a neighbor.  According to that study, forty years ago a third of Americans spent time with their neighbors at least twice a week, "(b)ut now, because we don't actually know our neighbors in person, we are more likely to be anxious about them or worry about what they're up to."

There are, no doubt, many reasons for the growing disconnectedness with our neighbors.  In “The Vanishing Neighborhood” Mark Dunkelman suggestsone explanation for the change could be that, in the past we couldn’t avoid it, but now there are new ways, through technology to get in touch with other people.  It’s not that we are actively deciding not to talk with our neighbors, but we have limited social capital and choose to spend it in other ways.

In spite of all that, the Squire Park Community Council tries to maintain connections in an old way--- through newsletter printed on paper, delivered by people on foot, and through actual face-to- face meetings.

So, if you have time on Saturday morning, January 13, consider coming to the quarterly SPCC meeting where you will have the opportunity to meet some of your neighbors and learn a little more about what’s going on inyour part of the Central Area.

SPCC quarterly meetings are held in the historic Fire House that, for forty-nine years has been the home of the agency now known as Centerstone, once known as the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP).  Centerstone/CAMP is the one of the most notable example of the results of community organizing of fifty plus years ago.  Through its doors, thousands of people have come and gone, working on wide-ranging efforts to improve communities.  SPCC meetings can provide an opportunity for those who are new in the neighborhood to connect to the history of the place as well as to connect with others who live here.  In rapidly changing neighborhoods like the Central Area there is the highest need for new and old residents to understand each other.

Some writers, and politicians, in Seattle have described community councils as places where long-time homeowners get together to resist newcomers and change.  This is not an accurate description of the Squire Park Community Council.  If you are a resident of the Central Area, or Wallingford, or any Seattle neighborhood, the face of your community council depends on who shows up at meetings.  If you feel your community organization could do a better job, the way that happens is for you to join the effort. The January meeting includes the selection of new board members.  All residents of the neighborhood are eligible to become board members. The vitality of the council, as always, depends on new members.

Besides meetings on the first Saturday of January, April, July, and October, there are monthly board meetings of the SPCC board.  The community council board acts as a conduit of information between the community and City agencies and neighborhood institutions.  The board can help you work on advocacy for changes you would like to see in your neighborhood, including working on applying for City of Seattle Department of Neighborhood grants which award anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 for a project that builds community.

So, the message is this:  If you simply want to meet a neighbor or two, or if you want to work with a group of neighbors to make Squire Park an even better place, SPCC is offering you an opportunity.

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