Thank you to the folks who have worked on pulling together some draft bylaws.
Abbreviated name: For me, C4 evokes images of explosions, combat, and destructive reactions. 4C, in contrast, connotes insight and vision. If Columbia City Community Council is to be the group's name, and if we need to further abbreviate CCCC, then I’d propose 4C.
Focus: I’d hope that members of this group would think of themselves as a collaborative body organized to build power here and work on projects within Columbia City. For my part, I’m interested in participating with neighbors in community-driven projects. I don’t see wrangling with the Southeast District Council as a particularly meaningful or fruitful focus for the CCCC.
Conflict of interest: I’d be interested in seeing how other community councils address questions of interest conflicts. If all members participate in good faith and presume that their peers are doing likewise, then this provision makes sense. But past experience makes me concerned with how it’s to be fairly applied. For instance —
- In questions of future development, would the realtors among us have a pecuniary interest uncommon to other members? Not necessarily, but this provision might be construed to say so.
- If someone lives next door to a problem (crime in a park, say, dangerous traffic on an arterial, or the blank wall of a future six-story development), then would they have a personal interest not common to other members? I think maybe, but that should never prevent them from advocating for a community-based solution.
- My concern here is also personal and borne out by recent experience. I’m a land use planner at the City, where I review applications for development (mostly north of the Ship Canal). In past community meetings, a few neighbors have repeatedly interrupted me in midsentence to challenge me about my professional role. They see a conflict of interest – I respectfully and firmly disagree. In neighborhood questions involving City-administered public process, will such people be allowed to prevent me from participating in this group?
If this provision is to remain, I think it should be clearly spelled out how members are to be voted off the island.
Boundaries: As an area to focus our efforts, the described neighborhood boundaries seem to be appropriate, except I think 50th Ave S would be a better eastern boundary and I think Rainier Vista should also be included.
Membership: Inclusion of interested participants is a good theme. Membership should certainly be open to anyone who lives within walking distance of the landmark district — say, within ½ mile. The draft bylaws don’t state that members must live within the boundaries — that strikes me as a good thing. If there’s a driving urge that draws proactive people to a group like this, it’s a common interest in working together within the neighborhood. We should avoid arbitrary limits to membership that might make otherwise engaged neighbors feel unwelcome.
Voting: Attendance prerequisites for voting seem to be a difficult thing to monitor, to document, and to enforce. If there must be an attendance requirement for voting, I suggest it should be a single meeting within the last six, rather than two in twelve. In any case, votes should be necessary only when there is clear disagreement and consensus isn’t possible. I don’t know how that idea jibes with Robert’s Rules.
And here are some typos:
• page 2, paragraph 2, ln 3: “members of the Board” should be “members”,
• page 2, paragraph 5, ln 2: “of the Alliance” should be “of the organization”.