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City Council: a 'get-it-done gang'?

Do 17 critical needs amount to "prioritizing"? Anyhow, that's the Seattle City Council’s to-do list for 2010.

Does a list of 17 critical needs sound a little overwhelming? Welcome to the Seattle City Council’s priorities for 2010.

Given that there are nine council members, that amounts to just under two items apiece. So, arguably, the list may be more manageable than it sounds.

The council, which unveiled its priority list during a meeting Monday (Feb. 22), certainly wants it to be seen as a doable and practical list — in essence a work plan. The items, said Council President Richard Conlin, "will guide our work."

There is also a very big political overlay, and the council seemed to be using the chance to brand itself as effective and hard-working. Council member Sally Bagshaw said, "This council is going to be known as the get-it-done gang." Referring to the entire list of items, Conlin said, "We are here to get things done for Seattle."

A listing of priorities has become an annual rite for the council. But, with Mayor Mike McGinn’s recent State of the City speech drawing relatively sparse turnout, the council also seemed to consciously use the list to show itself as being in touch with people. There was greater attendance, apparently drawn by council members' messages to supporters and interest groups.

The list pays considerable attention to the city's economic situation. For instance, under the theme "build a livable city for our future," the council listed six priorities: economic recovery, development, partnership, waste reduction, carbon neutrality, and history and culture.

Another theme is to "foster safe, just and healthy communities for all," which lays out plans for work on education, public safety, local food, and several other areas. The third is "invest public resources fairly and effectively," which includes work on the budget and two major transportation projects, the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement and a new Highway 520 bridge.

Is anything missing? Feel like your priority is left out? You might want to contact your friendly councilmember right away.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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