The Wallingford Community Council had its annual meeting Wednesday night and elected a new slate of board members, and, to make a long story short, I ran for one of three at-large board positions and lost. Everyone ran unopposed in advance of the meeting, but a community council member (who was elected for one of the at-large board positions) sounded the alarm that a urbanist renter was trying to get involved so they could line someone up to challenge me at the meeting.

SusannaLin

According to its own website: “The Wallingford Community Council (WCC) of Seattle is a neighborhood voice representing the greater Wallingford community in interactions with city government on land use, transportation, and parks.” Nonetheless, that voice is not to include urbanists, apparently.

They saved the election for my position for last. Everyone had just got elected unopposed until me. Then Donn Cave—who had just got elected himself—endorsed his friend Glenn Singer for my position leading to the first and only contested election of the night. They had us give speeches. I gave my little two-minute speech about how I could bring a renter’s perspective to the community council. A woman asked if I even lived in Wallingford, perhaps hoping to discredit me on a technicality. The western boundary of the WCC is Aurora Avenue; so, despite technically living in East Fremont, I qualify for the council.

The Wallingford Community Council meets at the Good Sheppard Center.
The Wallingford Community Council meets at the Good Sheppard Center. (Chris Robinson)

Foiled there, she followed this friendly query up with, “why did you move to a city that’s so expensive and then ask the taxpayers to help you?” I asked how the taxpayers were subsidizing me and she said that’s what HALA does and reiterated, “why do you live here?” It felt like she was saying that I should go live somewhere else. I mumbled something about I live where I want to live and Seattle is a great place and I wasn’t receiving a public subsidy. I also noted that I was interested in HALA for the novel idea of helping folks less fortunate than myself. Glenn gave his speech about owning a home and having a longer history in the neighborhood. Speeches completed, everyone voted so long as they paid $25 to become members “in good standing” by May 11th.

House Speaker (and Wallingford homeowner) Frank Chopp then gave a presentation bragging about how he blocked a HALA provision in Olympia, which many in the room really cheered on. (Chopp may have a point about that particular provision even if he abused his power as speaker to block the bill.) As he fielded questions, it became clear he didn’t really want to wade into deeper end of the HALA debate and claimed he was too busy to form opinions on some other contentious issues. A shrewd political move.

So an hour or two later they announced the voting results: Glenn had won in a “close” tally, though we weren’t told the exact vote totals. A handful of people walked up me afterward to offer words of support and a few even apologized for the woman who kindly suggest I get heck out of Seattle and her neighborhood. One new officer told me my writings with The Urbanist are what did me, specifically my piece on 45th Street, which highlighted potential parcels for re-development along Wallingford’s main business district. Apparently gas stations, suburban-style banks, and strip malls are too sacred to go.

As it stands, it would seem the Wallingford Community Council is entirely homeowner-run and poised to represent and privilege that viewpoint in its dealings with the HALA implementation process.

This post was updated with new information regarding the Facebook message above and the new link to one of Singer’s Wallyhood posts.

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Doug Trumm is the Publication Director at The Urbanist. He joined the exodus to Seattle in 2014, leaving behind his home state of Minnesota. Living on disputed land between Wallingford and Fremont, he is doing his best to improve both neighborhoods. He is a grad student at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a marketing intern at King County Metro. His views are his own and do not represent his employer.

70 COMMENTS

      • Hey now, of course, “they” is the WCC. (But surely you already knew that?) Nine months ago, I had never heard of it, and would have assumed that it was some nice, neutral group of folks, what with its rather official-sounding name and all that. But the truth is that they are not neutral at all. They are highly opinionated (read your responses above!) and biased to the extreme!!

          • Haha, wow that was fast! Ok but you see how it is… I’m just some little guy who wants to develop his own LR2 property in the Wallingford Urban Village (but *technically* I’m Fremont since I’m west of Stone Way, haha). Just frustrated a bit by all this anti-development stuff. You gotta admit that the WCC is VERY anti-development, yes?

          • That is not true. We understand the problem of affordable housing and like many community councils who, by definition, are usually concerned about the greater good in their area and city, and not only themselves and the fortunes of developers. The recent growth has been particularly devastating to all Seattle citizens because of some particularly poor policies adopted by Mayor Murray and his Hala committee.

            For example, they planned for no mitigation or additional infrastructure for all the increase in traffic in South Lake Union, around the UW, downtown etc. Congestion and inadequate parking costs money and is particularly hard on small businesses. Maybe you enjoy taking an hour to get a mile or two on city streets, but I would much rather walk. This is simply irresponsible.

          • FYI, none of the HALA recommendations have been adopted, unless you count O’Brien’s upcoming DADU/ADU measure, which the go to the council in the coming months.

          • No, WCC isn’t very anti-development. In the time I’ve been coming to meetings, a couple years, I’ve seen a number of developer presentations, and they have been given very even handed treatment. The last one I remember may have been on a MF building on N Midvale Pl with 0 parking units, and our land use experts had no problem with it. Other projects have had problems, and WCC will push back to the extent it can. Wallingford wants a community council that won’t let developers run all over them, but what neighborhood is any different?

            Doug, if you really are for some reason more interested in Wallingford doings, even though you live in Fremont, you’re certainly welcome to come over and get involved. You can do that without being elected to the council, and for that matter I doubt being on the council would have made much difference, mainly we just had someone else available who has been involved and we knew to be really outstanding. I’ve read your stuff, you seem to be a smart enough guy, but you miss things here and there because you lack background, and some personal exposure to the neighborhood crowd might be good for you.

          • Whose attitude to development is this, or do you think it’s irrelevant?

          • Donn — you do know that Doug lives in the Wallingford neighborhood, right?
            And you do realize that saying “we didn’t like you so we found one of our own people to run against you” just smacks of cronyism?
            If you honestly want Doug to be involved in his neighborhood, you’re sure choosing an odd way of being hospitable.

          • He’s written about where he lives. I’d call it Fremont, by any map I know of, and the important thing is, so does he. I know the two neighborhoods overlap somewhat – the Fremont Hub Urban Village for one geographic example goes a block or two into what I’d call Wallingford. People in the general vicinity can say they live in whichever neighborhood they wish, but this isn’t that kind of issue – Doug and I both say he lives in Fremont.

            As for whether I want Doug to be involved, you set a fairly high standard for hospitality. WCC’s political side is getting highly over-rated here, but when an “urbanist” blogger comes over from Fremont to run for a position, it is what it is, thoroughly political, and it’s absurd to wail over poor Doug’s rejection by the community. He gave the community a chance to have that perspective represented, which was fine as long as there was a choice. There was, and he lost against a really outstanding candidate, which he shouldn’t feel too bad about.

          • Except per the Wallingford Community Council by-laws — the only map that matters here — Doug lives in Wallingford. And as a WCC board member, you should know that.
            No one, not me, not Doug, is “wailing” about Doug losing the election.
            The objection here, which your comments bear witness too, is the treatment Doug was given.
            * All members of WCC were given the opportunity to toss their hats in the ring by the cut-off date, including Glenn.
            * After the nominations came out, “in-group” didn’t like that an outsider with a different history and perspective was running, and so sought another candidate, whom you, Donn, nominated from the floor.
            * Doug was then accused of both running illegitimately (an accusation you intimate here) and of freeloading on single-family home owners of the city.
            * This is followed up with posts by you saying “you being on the council wouldn’t have made a difference”, intimating that you, a fellow board member, would have side-lined him regardless.
            *That* is inhospitable. It doesn’t leave the impression that you in your capacity as a WCC member or board member are interested to admit new people with diverse opinions into the conversation in Wallingford. It’s pretty clear you don’t want Doug involved.

          • I’m going to say this one last time, Doug has decided himself where he lives, and put it in print more than once, and then chose to run for someone else’s community council. This isn’t technical grounds for exclusion, it’s just perspective on what this whole thing is about. What this is about bears on how he was received, and it bears on how it would have gone if he were on the council. If in the name of hospitality we’re supposed to pretend to take no notice and help promote his views, well, like I say, you set a high bar.

            In the meeting, he was up against a hostile audience, and some of the questions were a little out of line. Not by any means a majority of the audience behaved like that, and I don’t remember details word for word by now, but it’s worth mentioning that the WCC vice president who was in charge interceded on his behalf. Some things about that meeting could have been done better, but it’s a highly polarized situation. WCC officers weren’t part of that, and treated him with every possible consideration.

            This avenue for involvement wasn’t really open, the community would not accept him as a representative. But what I’m saying, and you know this better than I do, someone with your views can bring them here and not be rebuffed – not at all guaranteeing anyone will agree, but you aren’t talking to a monolithic belief structure either. Doug has an extensive grasp of policy details – at the Hamilton presentation he appeared to be more up on that than the city planning staffer at our table – and that’s welcome.

          • Donn, since you’re twisting my words, I, for the record, wrote: “Officially, our apartment on Woodland Park Avenue is in Fremont, but, since Stone Way divides the two booming neighborhoods, Wallingford is just a block away. It feels like we have a foot planted in each neighborhood. I’d contend the area between SR-99 and Interlake Avenue is Frelingford…” The whole piece is about how the area I live in is very connected to both neighborhoods and how I feel allegiances to both. I know some hate the idea of hybridizing neighborhood names but my point isn’t about the name so much as the neighborhood is a hybrid. https://www.theurbanist.org/2015/12/17/the-development-of-frelingford/

            You can vote to change your bylaws if you don’t like people west of Stone Way participating. Perhaps you can refund my poll tax if that is the case.

            Thanks for the compliment on HALA policy grasp and remembering me from the HALA ‘Conversation’ at Hamilton. I heard over and over again how no one sees me around in the neighborhood and that people don’t know me yet they seem to know my blog very well or at least have skimmed for dirt I guess.

            I think we can work together even with our differences. I appreciate your support of backyard cottages/ADUs.

          • The overlap with Fremont is an interesting subject with a fairly long history. The area between Stone and Aurora north of 40th, I consider Wallingford and as a civil matter it is part of the Wallingford Residential Urban Village, as your area is in the Fremont Hub Urban Village. People who live there do not unanimously agree, though, and a few seem surprisingly attached to that issue, to the extent that they can hardly speak to someone from Wallingford without bringing this up. The more ambivalent perspective you express is natural for a new resident, but it will be interesting to see if the apparent glamor of Wallingford draws more of your neighbors to declare themselves Wallingford residents.

          • As one of the Fremont people engaged in that history, I add:
            • From the beginning of settlement of the area by Americans (as opposed to Native Americans), Fremont was west of Stone Way, the route of the original causeway across Lake Union. When Aurora was turned into a major thoroughfare connected to the George Washington Memorial Bridge (yes, that’s its name) in the early 1930s, it severed East Fremont from Fremont. It also allowed traffic to by-pass downtown Fremont leading to economic shifts.
            • In the 1980s, as a result of the building boom of ugly crap (sound familiar?) coming out of the Boeing recession, the Fremont neighborhood lead by the FNC managed to force the City to the table to negotiate zoning issues. We spent hundreds of hours documenting use cf zoning, and mapped areas at issue, including East Fremont, block by block. FNC fought hard to keep the SF zoning in East Fremont intact. The president of the FNC for part of that time was Mary Hansen; she lived on Whitman north of 40th.
            • The ‘conflict’ between Wallingford and Fremont over the area between Stone and Aurora was a result of the City’s drawing of the urban village boundaries. I believe the panhandle of W’ford’s urban village along Aurora was included so that their housing and job targets could be easily achieved without incursion into the SF areas (but I could get flamed by some W’forders for making this claim). Regardless, the area was supposed to be a “joint planning area” but my experience with trying to resolve disputes over the years—like over W’ford’s application of design guidelines right down to the Troll—was unpleasant at best.
            • The City Clerk’s maps continue to show the area west of Stone and south of 45th as “Fremont.” The FNC, incorporated about 40 years ago, allows everyone who resides west of Stone, east of 8th NW, south of 50th to the Canal to be a voting member. We currently have two board members who live in East Fremont (one on Albion just south of Bridge Way, and one near 45th and Whitman).
            • The FNC was the driving force behind the creation of low income housing in East Fremont.

            ‘nuf said (buy me a beer and you’ll get more)

          • You have to take him up on it, Doug, the beer will be worth it as he most assuredly has more. Though it may not be quite as high profile as Wallingford, Fremont isn’t completely inert even in its current mostly-new-resident state, has all sorts of colorful history, and he has been in the middle of it for a long time.

      • “Pray tell”? Nobody talks like that haha If you’re using pray tell in a serious debate, you might want to check your snark. Or not.

  1. “The city is divided into 13 neighborhood districts…. grew out of a 1987… resolution.”
    Learn more: http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/neighborhood-districts

    Some ideas / concerns / questions:

    1. Do people leading groups represent their communities based on attributes like age, gender, race, sexual orientation, renter vs homeowner?

    2. Do these groups get priority access 2 information, funding, gov’t resources, land use decisions, notice of changes 2 city?

    3. Do folks moving to a neighborhood get notification from city how to get involved, like name, location of local group to join

    4. When new residents show up to meetings (how) are they intimidated by existing residents? share *your* story please!

    (https://twitter.com/YIMBYsea/status/737334368234917888)

    • SEAyimby, You seem to be asking questions to provoke the answers you want. The answer to all of the above is no. If you want to get involved in your community you have to do a lot of legwork and research yourself. City council members rarely even answer your emails. You have to get in their face, write resolutions, organize protests and work with other city activists in order to get their attention. In their favor, the city can be counted on to give you parking tickets and charge outrageous fees for building and utility permits and pet licenses. Sorry for the bad news.

  2. First of all Mr. Trumm, I would like to say that I was “that woman” that challenged you. You mention several times in your blog “Sound and Fury” that you live in Fremont. This is more than a technicality. If you live in and identify with a neighborhood, you should admit it and not pretend that you live elsewhere.

    Secondly, why would you expect Wallingford voters to think that someone who had no lived history in their community should be qualified to represent them? You never said anything about your qualifications except that you liked the city. That is hardly a recommendation for an office holder. You gave us no more than a Donald Trump-type assurance that you had our concerns at heart, mostly because you probably don’t know them.

    Engaged residents who have a history of past issues and problems in their neighborhood know what’s been tried before; they know city and state ordinances and what they are allowed to do and what they can’t. They have experience dealing with local and state political leadership, past and present. Can you say the same? You would get a lot more credibility if you quit making your childish generalizations about Wallingford homeowners, especially when you know nothing about us, We have a high percentage of renters who live in our houses, probably over 30 percent of Walllingford’s population, and we welcome them.

    I was never suggesting you should go live somewhere else, That is a distortion .I was merely asking why “people,” not you, move to a expensive city and expect taxpayers to support their inability to pay market rate rents. As the Seattle Times editorialized about a week ago, there is a solution to high housing costs. There are many great cities and towns in the Puget Sound area that are much cheaper and can offer a lot of amenities. Many Seattleites who can no longer afford Seattle have had to move elsewhere already and many, I dare say, do not regret it.

    Finally, why not admit that one of your reasons for running was to add a line to your application to the UW Urban Planning School? We’re not idiots here.

    • I think that “people” should expect to be able to afford to live in Seattle. Good for the city, good for residents.

      And the link to Doug’s UW application is weird at best.

      • Read his blog. It’s hardly weird. Also, how would you arrange for all to afford to live in Seattle? Should everyone also be able to live in Central Manhattan or London? You better start studying how international financing works. This global world economy is largely to blame for the decline of the middle class, which is happening everywhere. It would be nice if we could all live in a fantasy world.

        • You’re taking his argument to an extreme, Berta. It exposes your own extreme views in the other direction. Don’t assume the worst about people, take a deep breath, and I promise nobody is out to get you.

          Actually, I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee this week and listen to your perspective on the matter. I’m totally serious! No arguments, I promise. I’ll send you a direct message.

          EDIT actually I can’t figure out how to do that. Send me an email at tyleha@yahoo.com if you’re interested. Coffee on me.

          • Tyler,

            ” It exposes your own extreme views in the other direction. Don’t assume the worst about people, take a deep breath, and I promise nobody is out to get you.” You couldn’t be farther from the truth about this. I’m an academic and I expect my students to support their claims with evidence. This is basic logic. Imagine being on a witness stand and making a generalization with no evidence to back it. The cross-examining attorney would tear you to pieces.

    • For someone who was painted as unwelcoming and accusatory in the article above, you’re not doing much to dissuade that accusation. I don’t know either of you from Adam, but the voice of a new resident and renter seems like a valid color to be added to an otherwise homogeneous group. I mean, there are renters and there are new residents in Wallingford, yes? Their voices should by no means dominate or even lead the overall conversation, but it’s not an incompatible viewpoint, either. We all have to coexist here.

      You accuse him of not living in Wallingford (though what is he supposed to do – he lives within the Wallingford boundaries, run for Fremont?) and you imply this is a resume building exercise. Maybe he was antagonistic in the meeting, I don’t know, I wasn’t there. Heck, this is my first time reading this blog. But you, Berta, are being exclusionary, dismissive, and rude, just as you were accused of being.

      • You too know little about Wallingford. When we have meetings, why is it that no renters come? If you say it’s because we exclude you, what evidence do you have to support it? I don’t believe it’s rude to make claims that are supported by facts. If you are so concerned about renters, and you should be, then come to the meetings and let us know your concerns. Don’t just whine about it online.

    • “We have a high percentage of renters who live in our houses, probably over 30 percent of Walllingford’s population, and we welcome them.”

      You welcome them to give you money to live in properties you own, but not to have a voice in the neighborhood council. Imagine that. Sincerely, you haven’t done much to bolster your case or make your perspective sympathetic. Funny that you should invoke Donald Trump as a criticism in one statement, and then essentially argue that you ought to be entitled to maximize returns on real estate investments at the expense of low-income folks in the next.

      • “You welcome them to give you money to live in properties you own, but not to have a voice in the neighborhood council.” What is your source of evidence for that? “you ought to be entitled to maximize returns on real estate investments at the expense of low-income folks in the next” Again, a totally unfounded claim. As a matter of fact, I own a rental in Wallingford and I rent it to a low-income woman, utilities included for $450 a month so that she can live nearby her grand kids. I lose money on it. I qualify for low-income property tax rates myself, spending more than half of my 50% AMI income on my mortgage, which I’ve done for the past 4 decades. I work three jobs and am spending down my small savings. So put that under your hat and smoke it. Just please don’t make claims that have no evidence to back them.

        • Berta I am entirely genuine about that cup of coffee. Would love to hear your perspective more in depth when there aren’t so many people yelling at you.

        • For every low-income person that gets a well-meaning landlord there are 10 more than would love to live in Wallingford if the housing for them was available. Need proof? Just look at the rising rental rates. They would not be rising if more people didn’t want to live there.

          What’s worse than not providing any low-income housing, is providing just a little to pretend that the problem is solved and does not need further attention. This serves to only prolong actual solutions and keeps people living far away from jobs, friends and services.

        • Berta, if you are qualifying for–and taking advantage of–low-income property tax rates, then you are asking me, and other Seattle residents, to support your inability to pay market rate for your housing. This makes your accusation of Doug all the more offensive and absurd. Maybe you should leave Seattle because apparently you can’t afford it without public subsidy.

          Let me be clear here: That is *not* my opinion. I think a fair and civil society (which I believe Seattle aspires to be) needs to support/enable a range of income levels disbursed throughout the city. I welcome you living in Wallingford. I support providing low-income property tax rates. I support providing public assistance (in a multitude of forms) to ensure that people are able to live closer to where they work, and so that people who moved to a city when it was “affordable” aren’t driven out when it becomes “unaffordable”.

          I just wish you could be as hospitable to new-ish people like Doug who can afford to live in the city, as well as to long-time residents who are being pushed out, and new residents who work at less-lucrative jobs in the city.

      • Please reread my points. I never said or implied that I ” ought to be entitled to maximize returns on real estate investments at the expense of low-income folks in the next.” That’s absurd. I would welcome the city building increasing reduced market rent anytime anywhere to up to 60% AMI. But I do oppose their developer-led approach which is NOT producing affordable housing. The city has spent $200 million in tax breaks for the South Lake Union projects. If developer fees went into a general fund for low-income housing, the city would have that money, not the developers. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    • Berta, I can quote your name in the article you like. As hard as it is to believe, my primary motivation is to make Wallingford an even better place to live and engage with the community in a positive manner. I live with the boundaries of the “Greater Wallingford” as defined in its own bylaws Article III, Section 1: “The Wallingford Community shall be bounded on the south by Lake
      Union; on the west by Aurora Avenue; on the east by the freeway
      (Interstate 5); and on the north by 65th Street.” The accept members from these boundaries (including East Fremont) and therefore also accept officers from that area.

      http://www.wallingfordcc.org/about-the-wcc/bylaws/

      • As I said where you live is a technicality. It’s the community that you know and identify with that matters. And how exactly would you make Wallingford “better”? Don’t you think that’s a bit vague? It reminds me of a Trumpism. “We’re going to make America great again.” HOW? Tell us exactly what problems we have and how you’re going to make them better for the people that live here now and the people that are coming here.

        • I’ve been in many organizations where first-time attendees talked about their passion for the cause, and didn’t enumerate every specific policy position they have. I’m sure that’s happened in your organization before. Did you also aggressively compare those people to detestable politicians? That’s very hard for me to believe. Especially with the resume bit (do you have ANY reason to believe that’s his primary motivation besides that you want to???), it sounds like you tried to find a reason to preemptively dismiss Doug’s voice.

          I’m not familiar with the community council system, but I don’t think your passion for a neighborhood is defined by what you technically identify your neighborhood as. I live on the boundary of Phinney Ridge and Greenwood and I care quite a lot about Greenwood. The technical boundary of Phinney Ridge moving wouldn’t change that…..and if I happened to be in the boundaries of a Greenwood organization I would be VERY interested in helping a place I care about so much.

          This behavior hurts your organization.

          • I have no particular organization to defend. I’m simply talking about community participation and allegiance. This is politics. Thin-skinned people are not going to make it. They have to be able to defend their positions with verifiable evidence. There’s nothing aggressive about that. Notice too that I mentioned twice that boundaries are not the issue. When you live in neighborhood for a while and get to know your neighbors, an genuine identification and community forms. You normally don’t go about claiming to live in a neighborhood you have no allegiance to. Mr. Trumm failed to make that clear. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t get involved with the Fremont community. They have problems too.

          • Because the organization to which he’s applying includes his neighborhood in his bounds, and thus does work there? It’s not like identifying yourself as a resident of “East Fremont” precludes caring about Wallingford, or accepting the Wallingford Community Council’s boundaries. You also seemed to have completely ignored the rest of my counterarguments above. This is such obvious rationalization on your part, and I’m sure you know that at some level.

    • I’m not a regular Urbanist reader or an urbanist, and stumbled on this article not knowing much of what a community council is. But I want to take a moment of my time to say how totally offputting your response is!

      First off, who cares about the technical self-identification of his neighborhood? Do you think he cares about his portion of the neighborhood less because he calls it “East Fremont” instead of “Wallingford”? Wallingford is a reasonably big place, and I’m sure everyone in it identifies most with their immediate surroundings. The fact that you presume he’s disinterested in Wallingford (despite being at a Wallingford meeting!) because of this hyper-technical self-ID is absurd.

      Second, invoking Donald Trump to make the point “your speech should have been more about qualifications instead of passion for the neighborhood” is such an obvious attempt to invoke aspects of Trump that aren’t relevant to your criticism. I’ve been involved in so many organizations, and rarely do I see people *intentionally* scare off first-timers by demanding that they already know everything about their subject material. Instead, we try to see how their perspective might enhance OUR understanding of the subject material. How many newer participants and renters have you successfully “welcomed” to this organization this way?

      You must realize how hard it is for someone reading this to believe you approached someone and started asking an extraneous question about why “people” (i.e., renters like him) do something, and didn’t expect the question to be interpreted as about him or people like him. Especially considering how aggressively you dismissed his perspective for (presumably) lacking subject matter background, you expect anyone to buy that this was an innocuous question?

      Finally, what reason do you have to believe this was entirely a resume-building exercise for him?? Did he mention or indicate as such in some form?? How would you react if people accused you of only being involved to protect your property value from increased construction?? Would you think that accusation is fair and reasonable?? If not I don’t know how you can defend the tact you’re taking!

      Again I care rather little for the politics involved here. I am just disappointed that so many organizations become insular and ineffective. I’m even more disappointed that you seem so satisfied about doing that, to the point where you don’t realize how antithetical to inclusion and community you’re being. (Bet there’s a Trump analogy in there somewhere…)

      • Blake, First of all Trumm would make himself more believable if he didn’t use empty-Trump like rhetoric, That is a different statement than to say he is like Trump.

        Second, there’ nothing “extraneous” about asking a question of a person running for office, why they came here. Seems to me that is not vicious. I ask it of people all the time, with no criticism intended.

        “his hyper-technical self-ID is absurd” I have no idea what you mean by this. Please note that I was not referring to boundaries but to self-identification and in his blog he several times says he lives in Fremont. — not that it’s a big thing, but the WCC requires officers to live in Wallingford.

        “Especially considering how aggressively you dismissed his perspective for (presumably) lacking subject matter background, you expect anyone to buy that this was an innocuous question?”

        I also don’t know what you mean by this statement. All I said is that he gave no reason for wanting the position other than
        that he liked Wallingford and wanted to make it better — another Trumpian type statement. Better, how?

        You need to read theses entries more carefully and not make spurious assumptions. If you want more information why not go to the meetings?

        • Truthfully, Berta, did any of the candidates give a reason for running for office other than wanting to make Wallingford better? No… they didn’t. They all gave bios and some statement of “I’d like to help make Wallingford better”.
          You can certainly say, “I don’t really know you and what you want to do, while I do know these other candidates.” But it is inappropriate and poor logic to violate the Neo-Godwin law.

    • “Can you say the same?” NO! because you baby boomers HATE us millennials and use every advantage you have to ensure we don’t have a voice in public policy. Do you believe that renters are leeches and transients?

      • Is that so? Where’s your evidence? I have no idea where you get this urban myth argument that home owners hate renters. I have never experienced that in my neighborhood over the past 40 years. In fact, many of us welcome them because they are as hard up as many of us are. We have little in common with the rich techies who are moving into our neighborhood and driving up house prices and consequently property taxes that too few of us can afford. And don’t say we could sell our houses because our homes are not just commodities to us. We live in them. We pay dearly to maintain them, if partly to avoid neighbors’ criticism which usually comes from the wealthy new owners.

        • your behavior towards the author proves it.

          “We have little in common with the rich techies” – exactly, you hate young people with a passion. you just hate us.

    • As someone in attendance at the WCC meeting, I’d like to set the record straight, Berta, that you were not merely asking why “people move to an expensive city”, but rather very clearly said “you” to Doug. It was (and I’ll editorialize here) extremely uninformed both of Doug Trumm’s personal situation and of the affordability problem in Seattle and of HALA.
      Second, your accusation that Doug did not live in Wallingford showed lack of faith in the WCC leadership. As a *member* included in the official list of nominees put forth by the WCC leadership, *of course* Doug Trumm had already been vetted by the WCC leadership.

    • Is the Seattle Freeze something to be proud of? You keep trying to tie Trump and Trumm together but it sounds like you’re the one who is against outsiders.

  3. I moved from Wallingford to the Fauntleroy neighborhood of West Seattle and we have a similar situation with our community council. Don’t rock the boat. They like things as they are.

    • I am the co-chair of the Southwest District Council, which includes the Fauntleroy neighborhood. In the 18 months I’ve held that role we have welcomed all manner of opinions and ideas on a variety of subjects. Most neighborhood groups and their respective district councils struggle to recruit participation from residents. Our next meeting happens to be this week: 6:30 pm first Wednesday of the month at the West Seattle Senior Center, details on the West Seattle Blog.

      • I am trying to get the parks department to do a trade that would expand Cove Park. There is a lot of push back from homeowners very close to the park as it is. They are well organized and don’t want change, even if it is good for the public as a whole. Here is the one page webpage I built for it. http://covepark.wix.com/covepark I am trying to gain support because that is what the Parks department (Chip Nevins: Chip.nevins@seattle.gov) and Lisa Herbold Seattle City Council) need to take on the project.

        How do I get the district to help get the word out? It was on WS blog with great support, but people didn’t come to the public meeting, except the beachfront owners who don’t want it.

        • Claudia, our agenda two days from now is a bit full, but if you attend I’ll do what I can to add it if you attend the SWDC meeting. The Cove Park issue is a topic other members are far more familiar with than I am. Please feel to reach me through the city’s DON website if you are unable to attend. I’d prefer to hear from you in person than continue to hijack this blog thread.

  4. The fact that Wallingford Community Council members appear to not believe that someone who wants to live in the heart of the neighborhood but has been priced out would not be a valuable addition is pretty much the only data point needed to damn the whole enterprise.

  5. If it were to be the case that members of the Wallingford Community Council would not consider someone who wants to live here but has been priced out to be a valuable addition that would be enough to damn the whole enterprise.

  6. That this cooze would say something like that in public, all entitled and demanding, tells you a lot about Seattle. The white privilege in the city is off the charts.

    I think Frank Chopp is okay. Plus, he’s from Seattle, so what do you expect? He was running for office and winning since my now 30 yo son was 4. And he’s okay. That woman in Wallingford represents a lot more like her.

    Welcome to the NW, Doug. It’s not like MN. But we’re a tiny bit nicer to the wolves here.

  7. I believe one of the outgoing board members was a renter. Renters are always welcome. Glenn has been working hard for Wallingford Community Council and is known in the community. I would encourage you to attend Wallingford Community Council meetings if you would like to be involved.

    • Glenn seems like a good guy and this is nothing against him. I have no problem with getting outvoted and losing an election. Glenn was welcome to declare a month ago when everybody else did but apparently it only seemed worthwhile at the last minute when someone like me was going to take a position. To say renters are always welcome directly after a meeting they are called freeloaders and politely asked to go elsewhere is disingenuous. I attended the WCC meeting in April too and during that meeting one now newly elected board member said Stone Way was “getting hammered with new apartments” as if the very presence of multifamily housing was destroying the neighborhood. I’m going to be working hard for the community advocating for better transit, bicycle infrastructure, safer streets, and more effective land use. I hope that can be through the WCC but there are plenty of others ways to engage with the community if that doesn’t prove very fruitful…

      • If one of the board members last year was a renter, I believe it. I don’t know – I don’t think anyone knows or cares whether we rent or own. What it really seems to boil down to here, is that Wallingford, like a number of other neighborhoods, has been pretty critical of the current mayor’s recent development initiatives – HALA, 2035 Comprehensive Plan, etc. That means we have to be painted as anti-renter, against MF when we aren’t. WCC has to be painted as anti-development, when it isn’t. And worse. As divisive as possible. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it in local politics, though of course at the national level it’s quite the thing.

  8. I’ve been president of three different community councils over the last 40+ years, including the Wallingford CC in the 1980’s. It’s pretty easy to get onto the board at any of these organizations. All you have to do is show up and be engaged, before seeking board election. Take on a project. Get to know a few people in the organization; see and be seen, as they say.

    These are not monolithic organizations focused solely on issues related to home-ownership. I expect most would welcome at least a few contrarian voices, as long as they are congenial. Nobody likes to be lectured to or looked down upon because they support keeping Seattle’s SF neighborhoods. Practice your people skills, urbanists.

    • Thank you, and anyone who knows me can tell you, the people skills requirements are not very high at all.

  9. Interesting discussion and regrettable hostility in the comments. I was at the WCC meeting, though not a voting member, and when Doug’s name came up my first thought was “good, a renter, that’ll be a great perspective to have.” Then he started talking, coming across as unprepared, vague and not sure about much of anything other than liking Seattle, and that was BEFORE the question that’s the topic of so much comment here. In contrast, the other person running presented as articulate, capable, and listed relevant background and work on issues in the community. I don’t think the status of renter vs homeowner is particularly relevant to the outcome of the vote, but it does seem to be part of the polarizing narrative sweeping all too many things these days.

    As for the question in question, I too thought it was shockingly hostile and aggressive, and I could see no point other than “how dare you come here, now sit down and be quiet.” I can’t speak to the questioner’s internal intent, but in tone and content that’s what it seemed to me and, apparently, to others in the audience given the mutterings and statements from the floor.

    Likewise, I can’t speak to every urbanist’s view of the City plans, or to all homeowner’s or renter’s, as if those are mutually exclusive groups or that there’s no common ground to be had. I’ve heard a lot of desire for an affordable, economically and racial mixed Wallingford, and it seems reasonable to ask for data supporting the view that HALA will move us towards that, not away. We’re losing affordable housing now, and speeding up the construction of high-end, market rate buildings with no requirement that they contain affordable units on site doesn’t seem to further the goal. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get the best result.

    • Unfortunately, I think Doug was taken by surprise, so it could have been more fair in that respect. I don’t think it would have changed the outcome, but he might likely have been able to give a better account of himself.

      I’ve had a chance to ask around on the renter thing, and since that is a matter of such interest here, you all will be glad to know that a couple board members during the past term were renters.

  10. I am the person who included Doug Trumm on the list of nominations for a Wallingford Community Council board position. I placed his name in nomination at the WCC’s annual meeting. From this perspective as well as someone who has been a WCC Board member, I find both the facts and tenor of the blog article attacking the Wallingford Community Council wrong and unfair.

    I was asked to serve in the role of a nominating committee for this year’s election. I was to make sure that we had a nominee for each post. I repeatedly through email and meeting announcements asked anyone who was willing to run to contact me. When Doug emailed me, I already had candidates for all positions. I contacted a member who had already agreed to run again (she had been on the board for years) asking if she would mind being replaced on the nominations’ list by Doug since no other position was contested. She agreed, resulting in a single candidate for each office.

    Anyone living in Wallingford can join the WCC. Any member can run for the board. Doug’s name was submitted by WCC as part of the “slate” presented at the annual meeting. The statement that Doug submitted to support his candidacy was emailed to all of our members along with those of other candidates.

    At the meeting, nominations were called for from the floor for each office as required by our by-laws – in the order they were listed on the agenda. Doug was open about his Urbanist blogs and some might disagree with his views. I understand some people who disagreed with his public writing on subjects concerning Wallingford, decided to put up another candidate. That’s called democracy. The person who won the election has been very involved in WCC activities. Very few people had ever met Doug, and I don’t think he had been involved in the community council before the election. (He joined WCC about a month and a half before the meeting.) The election resulted in a 60/40% split of the votes. The person with the most votes was elected. That’s also called democracy. (I have the ballot cards if Doug wants to review them.)

    To say that this constitutes “Prejudice Toward Renters” is false. In fact, WCC has tried to involve more renters in the organization. The last time we did a mailing encouraging people to join WCC (about 2 years ago, we paid hundreds of dollars extra to include apartments. (We used a professional mailing service.) For years we publicized notices for our meetings on Wallyhood, the neighborhood blog, urging all to attend.

    Whether someone is a renter or home owner is irrelevant. I know we have had renters on recent boards. We may now. I don’t know whether most board members are renting or buying, nor do I care.

    I agree that the comment from one person at the meeting was over the top, but our president cut her off when she tried to persist.

    Instead of claiming discrimination against him because he is a renter and lost an election, I hope that Doug will become involved in WCC and lend us his energy, expertise and experience.

    Lee Raaen

    • Lee, I appreciate the way you and Carl handled the meeting. I think you generally handled it professionally. I regret that The Stranger ran with that particular headline as the tweet referring to prejudice toward renters was mainly referring to Berta’s comments and some of the tenor I picked up during the Chopp QnA showing some bias against renters. Nobody in the sitting leadership was rude to me.

      I didn’t know you asked someone else to not run because I had run. I didn’t expect that nor was it necessary. Frankly, knowing there was an excess of candidates would have made it clearer you had plenty of people willing to volunteer their time for the board and someone didn’t have to be roped into doing it at the meeting just because I ran.

      It is democracy but the point of my article is that things like the membership fee and derogatory comments toward renters, newcomers, and people who seek housing subsidies don’t make WCC meetings a welcoming place for those folks. I do plan on staying involved, attending some WCC meetings, and I hope we can let bygones be bygones.

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