Wednesday, December 24, 2003
I've thought long and hard about who the Sunnyside City Council represents.
This has been an issue that has bothered me since the first day I covered city council business nearly six years ago, until today.
The council is supposed to represent all people of the community; white, Hispanic, Filipino, Asian, African American, everyone, but as I look at the council I think to myself, is this a true representation of our community?
Is this a group of people that represents every ethnic, socio-economic and moral background of the community?
Most intriguing, I think, is looking at whether or not the council is a group that represents every neighborhood of Sunnyside.
Thinking about this I went through the list of council members and looked at where they live.
Every single one of the city council members lives on Harrison Hill. Even the two incoming city council members have homes on Harrison Hill.
Now that's full representation of the community!
What about the Hispanic couple living on North Avenue. The newlyweds starting life in their first home on Irving Street and the working poor living on Ida Belle? How are they being served by their "representatives" who don't even live in their neighborhood?
When I was first learning about city government I thought that city council members were selected much like the school board. I thought that the council members each had a district they represented, although all members of the community voted on who would be seated on the board. Boy, was I wrong!
Districting would be a fair way for the entire community to be represented rather than having all of the council members living in one specific area.
Within a few short years the citizens of Sunnyside could develop a whole new way of choosing its city council. Those representing members of the community could actually be your next door neighbor or the guy living down the street.
Personally, as someone who will soon be living at the bottom of the hill, I'd like to be represented by someone who lives near me. At least they'd be familiar with what the rest of us are going through in trying to make our way through life.
. Melissa Browning can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org